David Dimbleby: Why I'm backing the 'IoS' appeal

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The Independent Online

The children who live on the streets and in railway stations around the world have much in common. They have either been abandoned by their families, driven away from homes that could not afford to feed them, or orphaned by accident or disease.

By surviving in conditions that are so squalid and so dangerous they demonstrate a capacity to cope with hardship and a determination to deal with whatever life offers. They are often canny, intelligent and fiercely loyal to those who scratch a living with them. But they are all exposed to great risks on the street, risks that cannot be overcome by throwing money at them. Largesse is the last thing they need. What they do need is a structure in their lives to replace the families they have lost - something that is provided so astutely by Railway Children, the charity chosen for this year's Independent on Sunday Christmas Appeal.

With that structure, perhaps a day care centre or hostel, they have a chance to bring some order back into their lives, to go to school and on to college and return to the world that has abandoned them.

For this reason, I have been a long-standing supporter of Railway Children and I congratulate The Independent on Sunday for choosing it this Christmas. It is a hard-headed charity that knows how to make a difference and shows children who have had precious little love and affection that there are people who care.

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