Seventeen-year-old Reema (name changed) was wandering at Delhi’s busy Sarai Rohilla railway station, looking lost and worried. Walking alone in tattered clothes and grimy skin, Reema looked at every passer-by with utmost desperation, seeking help. A member of our outreach team at the station, Ms. Preeti, approached Seema with a helping hand.

Comforting Seema at the Child Assistance Booth (CAB)

Preeti introduced herself and explained Railway Children India’s work in brief. Initially, Reema looked taken aback. However, the caring and comforting words of our outreach member successfully convinced her to head to the CAB.

At the CAB, Reema saw food supplies and exclaimed that she was famished. Accordingly, she was provided a good meal and clean water – just what she needed at the time.

Upon satiating some of Seema’s most immediate needs, our rescue team let her take a breather, before inquiring about her background and details about the incidents that left her in this state.

Reema’s troubled past unravelled

Reema revealed that she belonged to an area called Chuppri in Assam. Malka, a woman from her hometown had brought her to Rajasthan with the promise of work as domestic help. Reema was also promised marriage with a boy from another faith; however, that promise did not come to fruition as well. Subsequently, Malka brought Reema to the Sarai Rohilla station, telling her that she will be taking her back to Assam.

Malka asked Reema to sit at platform 3, and told her that she would be back in just a moment. This promise of Malka’s was vacant as many of her previous promises.

Reema sat there looking lost, troubled and desperate in need of any help she could get.

Heading for the medical examination

Followed by this conversation with Reema, she was sent for a Medical Examination along with the Government Railway Police (GRP) and one of our outreach team members. This test, however, revealed more surprises.

Child or adult?

During the medical examination, Reema told the doctor that she was a married woman, and a mother to a four-year-old baby. She also shared that her husband had abandoned her and married a second woman. In light of her statement, the doctor recommended an age ossification test to confirm Reema’s age.

RCI’s plea for help

While her age ossification test was pending, Reema was moved to a Government Child Care Institution for Girls. The following morning, Reema was presented before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), where the members came to the decision that she was above the age of 18. Our team members, however, requested the CWC members to allow her to stay in the shelter home till the results for the ossification test came by. The members generously agreed.

Following her stay, Reema was reunited with her parents.