Block C, Gautam Puri is in South Delhi. Despite its upmarket location, the area is a pocket of poverty surrounded by the more posh colonies around it. The area is home to 1,200 families who live in shanties with tarpaulin roofing. Since the area is relatively old, its residents have tried to make the shanties more habitable by constructing toilets, a small but vital addition that makes the public health situation not quite as dire as in some of the other areas in Delhi that we work in.
People who live here are, without exception, from the lowest of income groups. Most work as daily wage labourers for contractors, a job that should pay Rs. 297 per day but often pays lesser since corrupt practices abound in the unorganised sector. In any case, monthly earnings that typically hover around Rs. 7,000 in a month are woefully inadequate to cover basic costs.Magic Bus employees Niraj and Mohit who selected the area and started work in the month of July 2011 considered two questions before starting out here:
They then built rapport with the community and simultaneously identified potential volunteers to work as mentors.
Currently, there are around 70 children attending these sessions, 40% of whom are girls. The Training and Monitoring Officer in charge of operations in Gautam Puri is Mohit Chaudhary. He is assisted by Youth Mentor Omveer Singh. Block C, Gautam Puri has four Community Youth Leaders, all of whom are boys. The Magic Bus team working in this community recently organised youth-development training. And the Magic Bus Football Team from Gautam Puri took part in a football competition held at Nandnagri and finished third.
Aakash, a 12-year-old boy, lives with his parents, three brothers and a sister in Block C, Gautam Puri. His mother is a housewife and his father, who works as a labourer, is the only earning member. Aakash is a student in Std 8, but did not do well in academics because of his absenteeism.
Youth Mentor Omveer tried to convince him to attend Magic Bus’ Sports for Development sessions, but he refused. But after a few days, Omveer saw him observing a session, and once again attempted to explain to Aakash how the sessions would help him. Aakash agreed to attend.
He started to understand how the sessions work and actively participated in them. He was made to understand the importance of education and the benefits of attending school. His attendance started improving.
“I am very happy that he attends school regularly and has stopped bunking classes. I think this is one of my achievements as a mentor,” says Omveer.
Sport for Development sessions are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 5pm to 7pm, and are divided into three 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