They all board the ‘Magic Bus’ for a better future. Magic Bus India Foundation, a non-government organisation, has embarked on a novel venture of using sports as a tool for development and social reconstruction among the underprivileged communities.
Sports is an easier way to reach out to the deprived classes and convey the message that education, gender equality and health can be an integral part of their career with the right to play. A good example being the Magic Bus football team set up here.
“Our objective is to educate the underprivileged through our approach of ‘childhood to livelihood’. It means to encourage kids to stay in schools, understand gender equality, and give them anecdotes on good social behaviour,” explains Dhimant Chovatia of Magic Bus.
To inculcate team spirit, the focus in sports has been on team games like football, volleyball, handball, cricket, kabaddi and kho kho to start with.
“For every 20-30 children, we have a boy or a girl from the community (from the 16 plus age group) as mentors. Sports becomes the binding factor here too, as the coach-student relationship is very strong in the field,” says Sandhya Srinivasan, State Head, Magic Bus.
Ajay Singh and 12-year-old Lakesh Kumar, both slum children, are now delighted for being associated with the Magic Bus.
“This programme gives me the power to change the future of the children and develop myself as an independent and confident person. What better can I do to the society and myself?” say the duo. Magic Bus works with about 70,000 children in A.P. out of the 2.5 lakh across India.