Block G, Sangam Vihar is located in South Delhi, near the Government Senior Secondary School.
The population is around 1,500 of which around 500 are children. The area mostly has pucca houses. Most of the men from this community work as rag pickers, cobblers, labourers and shopkeepers. Women work as the help in nearby homes and shops.
Water supply in the area is inadequate and the community suffers from water scarcity in the summer. Around 150 houses do not have toilets. There are no community toilets in the area either. As a result, residents have to resort to open defecation.
Magic Bus started operations in Block G, Sangam Vihar, in 2012. The programme covers 99 children, of which 39 are girls. Rituraj, 23, is the Training and Monitoring Officer in charge of the community. He is assisted by Rajeev, a 22-year-old Youth Mentor.
A drawing competition for children was held in the community on May 6, 2014.
Twelve-year-old Chotu lives with his parents and three siblings in a small, rented house in Sangam Vihar. His father works in a petrol pump and mother is a housewife. The family’s monthly income is Rs. 7,000. Chotu dropped out of school after class 4.
He started attending Magic Bus sessions in 2012. The Youth Mentor counselled his parents about sending Chotu to school for a better economic future. His father agreed, but no school was willing to enrol Chotu, as whatever little he studied was in his village, a long time back.
The Youth Mentor also talked to the Principal of the Government School about Chotu’s admission. Chotu will likely be enrolled in the Government School in the next academic year.
There is a strong gender bias prevalent in the community. Unlike boys, girls are not encouraged to pursue higher education. However, with consistent efforts made by Youth Mentors in the form of door-to-door visits, the number of girls attending Magic Bus sessions has increased. Other efforts are also being made to build up gender equity in the mindsets of the people, so that it can come into practice.
Cleanliness drives and counselling children about the importance of good health practices have improved the situation in the community. During every session, the Youth Mentor teaches the children one good health habit – e.g. washing hands before eating food, cutting their nails regularly. Children have started coming for sessions bathed and wearing clean clothes. They are aware about cleanliness and hygiene.
Magic Bus sessions are held in Block G, Sangam Vihar, on Wednesdays and Fridays from 5 pm to 7 pm. Sessions are divided into 3 parts:
(Photographs from Magic Bus areas of operation are used for representation only.)