Begumpur Village in South Delhi is home to around 350 households with more than 1,500 people. There are around 350 children in the age group of 7-14 in this community.
People from Begumpur Village are mostly engaged in informal sector jobs and work as plumbers, shopkeeper, drivers, domestic help etc.
Magic Bus became operational in Begumpur at a time when gender-based issues were very prominent in the community. Volunteers and staff from Magic Bus visited parents and key decision makers at the village and interacted with them. After elaborate consulting and convincing, a playground was developed with local support.
The first Magic Bus sessions were conducted in February 2011, where only 15 boys participated. This was a hard time, because the Youth Mentor Manoj had to put in serious effort to convince people to allow girls to mix with boys and play.
Magic Bus broke the ice by organising a sports tournament in the village, which instantly gained attention from residents and received a good response, hinting at a growing interest for serious Sport for Development sessions in the village.
Through regular meetings, house visits and organising a cricket tournament, the Magic Bus team convinced parents and the community to let girls participate in the programme. Magic Bus currently has a Youth Mentor and four community youth leaders conducting sessions with more than 300 children aged 7-10 in the village. There are currently 130 girls in the programme.
Off the training field, they supplement sports activities by working with the larger community that the children come from. Besides regular meetings with children and parents, the Magic Bus team holds rallies, cleanliness drives and community-wide sporting events aimed at empowering and strengthening the communities they work with.
Sonu, a 14-year-old girl, had to drop out of school because her family were facing extreme financial problems even though both her parents are working.
Sonu was also an aggressive and abusive child. She would loiter around in the locality. She got into bad company and got involved in playing cards and gambling.
Even after she joined the Magic Bus Sport for Development programme, initially, she was unruly and disruptive. Things started to change only after the Youth Mentor started to counsel her. Gradually, Sonu became more regular at the sessions and her behaviour changed.
She was very interested in Cricket and was well known in the community for her batting skills. She performed very well in a cricket tournament organised by the staff, and was encouraged to continue playing.
After some time, she approached the Youth Mentor saying that she wanted to re-enrol in school. The staff quickly got to work and met her family. After convincing her parents, they made arrangements for her to join Std 6 in the girls-only Government Senior Secondary School, Begumpur (Malviya Nagar).
A typical Magic Bus session lasts for 2 hours and is divided into 3 parts:
(Photographs from Magic Bus areas of operation are used for representation only.)