Magic Bus works with some of the world’s poorest children and young people, taking them from a childhood full of challenges to a life with meaningful livelihoods. We equip young people with the skills and knowledge they need to grow up and move out of poverty.
Children on the Magic Bus Programme complete school, and go on to enroll in vocational institutes or colleges. They successfully fend off destabilizers such as child marriage and child labour and become first-generation salary earners. Our participants complete their education and have secure careers.
The below report is a representative of the impact in the Magic Bus Programme in Chandrapur, where the communities are located.
Chandrapur is a remote district in Maharashtra, and closely borders Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The local language spoken here is Gondi and there is a population of 2.2 million people, with only 35% of the area being urbanized. The overall literacy rate of the region is 81.4% with male literacy at 88.7% while for female it's much lower at 73.7%, exhibiting a difference of 15% in the male female literacy ratio.
Magic Bus conducts one of the largest programmes in Chandrapur district, reaching out to 15088 children across several villages. Weekly sessions and events were conducted with over 500 groups of children on various domains covering rapport building, education, gender, socio-emotional learning, health, right to play and other needs-based issues, by over 450 Community Youth Leaders (CYLs) with an average of 950 sessions per month. The Magic Bus childhood to livelihood programme ensures that the children are engaged in a 7 year journey, and this multiyear engagement is necessary in breaking the poverty cycle.
Almost all the children in the Magic Bus programme are enrolled in school as observed in figure below, while 91.47% of them attend school regularly, this is significantly higher than the national average of 71.0%
A total of 94.08% of all the children in the Magic Bus Programme believe that girls should pursue their higher education. According to the figure below, none of the girls in the Magic Bus programme are married below the legal age
Sessions are held weekly and 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
Salman Sheikh never knew he could have friends who understood him or invited him to play. But that was before he had the opportunity to come for a Magic Bus session.
Salman studies in the seventh standard of a government school in his village, Gudgaon in Chandrapur district. His father runs a roadside stall on a cart, selling bangles and earrings. His mother is a homemaker. The family income is around Rs 5000 ($75) per month. There are 7 members in his family.
He was born with an uneven foot. As a result he was never invited to participate in games. His peers made fun of him and excluded him from any group activity. Salman is an attentive learner and is quite popular among teachers. But he didn’t have friends.
In 2014, during a community mobilisation event, Salman signed up for a Magic Bus session. He was hesitant to join. He was afraid of being humiliated. In the first few sessions, he did not participate at all. But when the facilitator tried including him, he felt encouraged. He joined in.
With each session, he started opening up. He faced his insecurities and found his peers share similar fears. Before long, he made friends and won respect for his energy and determination to give his best to any opportunity that comes his way.
Salman is confident. He studies, plays, participates in group activities, and engages with the messages at the end of the session. He shares his opinions with less hesitation and fear.
Photographs from Magic Bus areas of intervention are used for representation only.
Shrutika Bandu Devgade:
Shrutika studies in the seventh standard of a government school in Chichpalli village, Chandrapur district, Maharashtra. Both her parents are college drop-outs. Her father is a daily wage earner. In fact, daily wage work is one of the prominent livelihood options of residents of her village. This, along with traditional crafts like weaving bamboo baskets is some of the ways people employ themselves. Her mother is a homemaker but also does a bit of tailoring work. Shrutika has two siblings and all of them attend school.
With the coming of digitized flexes her father’s main source of income took a major blow. He used to get a fair pay for his painting work during elections. But slowly this started reducing forcing him to take up odd jobs with uncertain pay. As the income decreased, Shrutika’s mother also took up wage work to make ends meet.
In 2013, Shrutika joined Magic Bus. Initially, she saw it as a recreation –a break from studies and home. As she continued coming, she realised that her behaviour and thought process was changing. She was becoming more open and less fearful. She also started participating actively in extracurricular activities. She was motivated to do well in whatever she took up whether it was painting, music or lessons.
Shrutika looks up to her mentor as a role model. She wants to be a mentor too. Her ambition is to become a software engineer.