Block F, Bawana, is located in the North-West district of Delhi. This block is situated near the Gauri Shankar Mandir in Bawana.
The population is around 8,000 of which around 3,500 are children. This block has 1,500 jhuggis. Most of the men from this community work as daily-wage labourers in factories or as shopkeepers and vegetable/fruit vendors. Women work as domestic help or daily-wage earners in silayi centres. Some make small handicrafts at home.
There is water scarcity in the community and hand-pumps are out of order. Less than half the population has homes equipped with toilets. The rest of the community has to use community toilets or resort to open defecation. The sewer lines are often choked and sweepers do not work regularly.
Magic Bus started operations in Block F, Bawana, in 2013. The programme covers 150 children, of which 60 are girls. Shanu Sheikh is the Training and Monitoring Officer in charge of operations in Block F, Bawana.
A football tournament was organised by Magic Bus in November 2013.
Satyam never knew why children of his age would go to school. Nor, did he know why cleanliness was important. Like many children from economically marginalized families, Satyam’s parents were too busy making ends meet. His father is a daily wage labourer and mother, a home-maker.
Satyam wanted to go to school. He was curious about what a school is all about. When he started to come for Magic Bus sessions, he just wanted a place to come and play. Play and leisure are luxury words in the life of a child from an underprivileged background.
Slowly, he started paying attention to the discussions that happened after the game got over. He was drawn to those discussions because they seemed to have an answer to the questions he repeatedly asked himself. So, he understood the value of education and importance of going to school. Then, he also found out how he needs to be clean and tidy in order to remain healthy.
Although Satyam was convinced he needed support to help explain the same message to his family. That’s when the Magic Bus bhaiya started engaging with his parents, informing them about the possibilities that would open up for him if he was allowed to go to school.
Satyam fares well in all his school examinations. He is attentive and curious. “There is a world of things to know out there”, says he.
Earlier, children used to come for sessions without bathing, in dirty clothes, with long nails and unkempt hair. The Youth Mentors worked towards improving awareness about cleanliness and hygiene habits of children. The situation has improved considerably since Magic Bus started working in this locality. Children and their parents are aware about good health and hygiene practices.
Magic Bus intervention has resulted in a positive change in the attitudes of children and parents towards education for a better economic future.
Sessions are held on Wednesdays and Fridays from 4 pm to 6 pm and are divided into 3 parts:
(Photographs from Magic Bus areas of intervention are used for representation only.)