Bhanwar Singh Camp is a small slum settlement located in Delhi’s upmarket area of Vasant Vihar and very close to one of the city’s best schools, The Modern School. People here are mostly migrants from Rajasthan and the more remote parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Families here are also very conservative in their practices.
People live in small huts, the roofs of which are made up of cemented slabs and plastic sheets. They have an open drainage system and most of them make use of the railway track as a toilet. Means of employment are limited and most residents make a living from daily wage labour or as cooks, domestic help or sweepers.
Magic Bus started the programme in Bhanwar Singh Camp in June 2011. The work here is now overseen by Training and Monitoring Officer Rajni. Currently, there are 65 children in the programme, out of which 40 are boys and the rest are girls. There are four Community Youth Leaders (one girl and three boys).
Recently, a football tournament was organised between children and Community Youth Leaders of Bhanwar Singh Camp, RK Puram, and Chanakyapuri communities. The winners were given medals.
Parent meetings are organised every month to keep the parents informed about their children’s progress.
When children from the community join the Magic Bus programme, the Youth Mentor’s biggest challenge is in teaching them manners. Take Sanjay, for instance. The 12-year-old boy, the son of a daily-wage labourer, lives in Bhanwar Singh Camp. He is a student at the Nagar Nigam Government School and loves playing football. He joined the Magic Bus programme in 2013.
Like other children, he had good habits as well as bad. Initially, during sessions, Sanjay was aggressive and abusive at the sessions. He cursed a lot and fought with other children. “He had no one to guide him and didn’t know that abusive behaviour was bad,” says the Magic Bus Youth Mentor.
On the other hand, Sanjay loved sharing his stuff with other children and came prepared for sessions (he carried his own water bottle).
The Youth Mentors tried to talk to him about his aggressive and abusive behaviour, and help him realise this was wrong. But he never heeded anything they said. To get him on track, the Magic Bus team had to use his passion for football against him. They made him sit outside and told him that the only way he would be able to join the other kids was if he stopped cursing. To quit a habit is difficult, but in order to play the sport he loved, Sanjay promised not to curse again.
Now, Sanjay also helps the Youth Mentor conduct different activities during the sessions and has become more responsible.
At sessions which last for 2 hours each and are divided into three parts, Magic Bus interacts with children using the following structure:
• 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