Balapanur is a rural community in the Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh, and has a population of approximately 2,500. Most of the families in the village are below the poverty line. Majority of the residents practice agriculture and some are engaged in seasonal labour work.
Some of the challenges we faced while trying to mobilise the community to bring more children to our sessions were related to the restrictive attitude towards women and girls from participating in public life. Initially, we had 3 Girl Community Youth Leaders but two of them discontinued due to this prevailing issue. We are organising parents meetings and other activities to motivate parents to send their daughters for the Magic Bus programs, and also help break the traditional gender bias.
Currently, there are 52 boys and 38 girls enrolled in the programme.
Alcoholism is a common problem. This makes public spaces unsafe for children and women, restricting their access. We have been conducting awareness activities with the youth to address this issue. There has been a behavioural change in a few, however the awareness activities will be continued to influence more.
Through awareness meetings, and parents’ tournaments that would motivate women to participate in activities in the public space, and regular Sport for Development sessions, we have been able to surmount some of the problems but there remains much to be done in this regard.
A few of the areas of behaviour change addressed by Magic Bus volunteers and mentors include:
• Importance of personal and environmental hygiene
• Equal treatment of boys and girls
• Importance of education
• Respect for elders
Sessions are held every week on Tuesdays, between 4 to 6.30 pm.
Magic Bus Sessions here are divided into three broad parts:
• Warm up: The development goal is introduced using interactive activities
• Main activity: The development goal is reinforced using sports and activities
• Review: A discussion is facilitated to draw parallels to real-life situations and sum up the learning objectives.
Photographs from Magic Bus areas of operation are used for representation only.