How Living On A Railway Line inspired the formation of SicKids
In 2014, Professor Andrew Rowland was awarded a Fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust – an organisation that awards grants to British citizens to enable them to travel overseas to study areas of topical and personal interest, to gain knowledge and bring back best practice for the benefit of others, their profession and community.
As a Consultant in paediatric emergency medicine Andrew has a specialist interest in safeguarding vulnerable children (child protection). Andrew travelled to the USA and Asia aiming to learn how professionals in different parts of the world address the challenges and risks faced by children and young people in diverse communities.
The result was his report, ‘Living On A Railway Line: Turning the tide of child abuse & exploitation in the UK & overseas’.
Andrew’s report makes key recommendations to improve the safeguarding of vulnerable children in the United Kingdom and beyond.
During his Fellowship travels, Andrew visited the community of Sihanoukville in Cambodia, where he came across the M’Lop Tapang organisation. He was invited to help undertake a mobile health clinic beside a railway line where he saw, at first hand, the staggering gap between the health and social care services that we have available to children in the UK and those available to children in Cambodia. He realised that, while there are vast differences between the two countries, there are also stark similarities and opportunities for health professionals in both countries to share knowledge.
Following this visit Andrew has formed formal links with M’Lop Tapang and has been appointed to their Board of Directors.
The creation of SicKids provides a mechanism through which funds can be raised and distributed to support children in the North West of England as well as Cambodia but, more than that, SicKids will enable true partnership working between the professionals looking after children and young people in the North Manchester region and those professionals looking after a group of children in Cambodia, whose vulnerabilities, risks of exploitation and potential for abuse have striking similarities to those in Manchester.