Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Duchess of Drawing Is Top of the Class; Kate and Wills Visit Centre for Street Children in New Delhi

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Duchess of Drawing Is Top of the Class; Kate and Wills Visit Centre for Street Children in New Delhi

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Jobson Royal Editor in New Delhi

THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met some of India's poorest and most vulnerable children during a visit to New Delhi today.

William and Kate appeared deeply moved as they heard from street children who had run away from home to escape abuse or poverty.

On average 6,600 of these children end up at New Delhi train station each year. There they become a target for prostitution, people trafficking or sexual and physical abuse. The royals, on the third day of their week-long tour of India and Bhutan, visited a drop-in centre at the station run by the Salaam Baalak Trust, which provides children aged five to 18 with food, education and healthcare.

Kate and William both sat down on the floor to join in a lesson with boys who live in the station.

William took part in the traditional game of karom, asking: "What's the game you're playing? Ah, karom board. Can you show us how to play?" Flicking the draught, he laughed as it went too far and invited his wife to have a go.

Later the Duchess, 34, who was wearing a full-length red dress with flat shoes, sat cross-legged as she drew pictures with some of the children.

Director Sanjoy Roy told the couple about the charity's work: "The boys come here for four hours of lessons and some food every day. When they're not here, they're at the railway station."

William, 33, asked: "Is that dangerous?" Mr Roy replied: "Yes, so they try to stick together. We look after around 7,000 kids a year, but every day around 40 to 50 new children arrive at the station.

"They often have to deal with trauma, learning difficulties, ADHD and we have special programmes to help them with that.

"These children that we look after are the most vulnerable. Some may have their eyes gouged out or hands hacked off.

"The primary reasons they run away from home are misunderstanding with step-parents, physical and mental abuse, incredible poverty or a life event such as forced marriage."

The charity has six homes, 21 contact centres and three Childline centres near stations, bus stands and railway stations across Delhi. …

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