Chiradevi is a small village of Bhadravati taluka in Chandrapur district, Maharashtra. It has a population of 764 people (including 85 children). Of the 176 households, 75 live below the poverty line. The villagers belong to the Scheduled Tribe, Scheduled Caste and Other Backward Classes and earn their living by working in farms.
The main occupation of the villagers is farming: they cultivate rice wheat, soyabean cotton, cereals and seasonal vegetables. Few of the people work in paddy fields and few in the factory producing explosives like bombs. In the village there are Asha workers who guide people during illness.
There is a Zila Parishad School in the village where children get to study from standard 1st to 4th. The villagers have access to water through well, tap and hand pumps. Only half of the households have their own toilets. The rest of the population is forced to resort to open defecation.
The Magic Bus programme in Chiradevi started in 2011. 56 children (32 boys, 24 girls) are a part of the initiative. The team’s current areas of focus are generating a better understanding of health care and reinforcing the importance of formal education.
Sameeksha (10) was afraid of playing football. Or, for that matter any games.
Sameeksha belongs to one of the poorer households in Chiradevi. Her parents are agricultural labourers managing to put together INR 3000 per month for a family of three.
A year ago when she joined us she was mostly seen standing on the sidelines watching the game progress. After we found out her fear for sports and getting hurt, we decided to try different means to allay her fears.
One day we got Sameeksha to lead a team in a game. She was nervous but she pulled it through without getting hurt. Midway through the game, she confessed having overcome her fear and starting to enjoy the pace of the game.
Till today, she is one of our most enthusiastic participants.
A few of the areas of behaviour change addressed by Magic Bus volunteers and mentors include:
• Importance of personal and environmental hygiene
• Equal treatment of boys and girls
• Importance of education
• Respect for elders
Magic Bus sport-for-development sessions are held on Thursday every week between 8.00 and 10.00am 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