60 Feet Road, Chhatarpur, is a small community located in South-West Delhi District of Delhi/NCR. The place is close to the famous Chhatarpur Temple, which is considered very sacred and draws a huge number of devotees almost around the year.
The socio-economic status of people in this community is very low. Most of them are forced migrants from other states, fleeing long-term unemployment or lack of viable livelihoods. Most of them work in the unorganized sector as drivers, petty shopkeepers or iron clothes to make a living.
Girls in the area are generally not allowed to play in the open. The only time most of them go out is when they travel between school and home.
Given the general attitude towards girls, our biggest achievement in this particular area is that there are 11 girls in the group – and 10 boys.
The local community mentor Tayyab Khan, who has been rigorously trained and coached by us in skills including how to work with children and how to conduct sport for development sessions, worked hard to make this happen. “One of the ways in which we challenged gender stereotypes was by organising football tournaments. Once girls had kicked a football, nothing could stop them from attending our sessions,” he says. The use of sport is a deliberate approach that helps retain interest, convey complex messages such as the importance of formal education, and make sure no participant drops out without gaining the full benefit of the programme.
Magic Bus uses popular games to break the ice and give participants a first-hand experience of just how different their lives can be. “We have profiled 19 of the 21 children in the group so that we can actually track their progress,” says Tayyab.
The other notable achievement in the area was the development of 2 open spaces as playgrounds for the children. “Magic Bus has a partnership with the government of India’s National Playfields Association,” says Pratik Kumar, Magic Bus’ COO. “In the larger context, developing local play spaces in slums areas, like the 2 play spaces we have developed in 60 Feet Road, Chhatarpur, contributes towards children’s rights to play, and develop well.”
Magic Bus continues to work towards increasing the number of children who attend sessions at 60 feet road, Chhatarpur, using a variety of off-the-field activities. “We have recently held a parent’s meeting,” recalls Tayyab, “At which we spoke about the possibilities and opportunities that are available in the immediate environment. Such face-to-face discussions help parents to resolve their doubts and answer the question, ‘What will I or my child gain from participating in the Magic Bus programme?’Areas of behaviour change addressed: Magic Bus volunteers and mentors have delivered key messages like:
Magic Bus sessions at 60 Feet Road, Chhatarpur last for 2 hours and are divided into 3 parts: