The massive network of the Indian railways are called home by many of the eleven million child runaways of the country. Up to 200 children can be found arriving at a large train station each day looking for a way to survive. They live off of the public resources, like toilets and running water, and eat leftover food left or donated by travelers. The children become a part of an underground economy by begging, selling, pick-pocketing, cleaning, shoe shining, performing for travelers, and collecting empty bottles and either selling them refilled with water or bringing them to recycling centers for small change. It is estimated that 9 out of 10 "train kids" in substance abuse, and many prostitute themselves in search of money, food, and/or shelter.
The documentary, Lucky Express, is made possible by Lucky Bahadur, the principle subject, interviewer, and translator, as well as a cameraman for the film. He himself lived for eight years in the train stations as a pick-pocket after running away from an abusive home at the age of five. Lucky’s passion is filmmaking, and he has another four semesters to complete for his film degree at the Asian School of Media Studies. You can contribute to his education by making a donation here.
Lucky Express is directed and produced by a woman(!), Anna Fischer, whose first documentary, Laxmi Burns, raised awareness about dowry burn victims.
The upcoming documentary is still a work in progress, but you can watch the trailer here: