Chalbardi is a community of 769 people spread across 170 households in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, India.
An OBC (Other Backward Classes) dominated area, Chalbardi's residents speak the Marathi language and practise Hinduism. A small number of households lie below the poverty line - most of them belonging to the SC community (Scheduled Caste community).
Residents are mostly into agriculture or agriculture-related labour.
The nearest school is located in Chalbardi itself. To access the Primary Health Centre (PHC) and the hospital, residents have to go to Majri village which is at a distance of 3 kms from Chalbardi.
Magic Bus began its operations in Chalbardi village in 2012. At present, we have around 51 children with us.
11-year-old Vaishnavi came across as a timid girl since her first day at Magic Bus sessions.
"It is not unnatural for us to see really young girls being so reticent. The fact that they have to play alongside boys is something that makes them restrained to a great extenet," says Youth Mentor, Savita. Through the sessions, however, most of this children understand that it is perfectly normal to play alongside boys or being friends with them. Through such interactions, both genders develop a mutual respect and consideration for each other, helping them break stereotypes which they grow up with since their childhood.
"The games caught Vaishnavi's attention a lot. She began participating in them with full vigour. Soon, she started interacting with the other kids and started opening up to them. It was a slow process but, today, Vaishnavi is so talkative that sometimes we have to ask to her to talk less", says Savita with a laugh.
A few of the areas of behaviour change addressed by Magic Bus volunteers and mentors include:
Sessions are divided into 3 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.
Photographs from Magic Bus areas of intervention are used for representation only.