With a population of 728, Gorja is located in the Bhadrawati taluka of Maharashtra.
Most of the residents are from the Other Backward Castes (OBCs). Marathi is the predominant language of this region. 58 out of 162 households have a BPL card.
There is a primary school in the locality. The Primary Health Centre (PHC) and hospital is located 4 kilometers away from the community. Youth wishing to pursue higher education have to travel a distance of 12 kilometers from Gorja.
The major problem in this community is regarding the unavailability of water and recurrent illnesses. Magic Bus began working in this community since 2010 with 56 children.
A major challenge faced by the team in this village is about getting girls to the Magic Bus sessions. Deep-rooted prejudices around gender had to be overcome before girls started coming for Magic Bus sessions in this village.
9-year-old Atish was afraid of going to school.
When our staff came to know of Atish’s irregular attendance, they approached the school. The school authorities confirmed Atish’s irregularity but could not throw any light on the reasons behind this.
Next, the Community Youth Leader (CYL) paid a visit to Atish’s house, met his parents, and came to know that the young boy was afraid of being ridiculed and rejected. He felt that if he did not succeed in school and play he would be looked down upon by all other boys.
After understanding Atish’s fears, our CYL invited him with his father to one of Magic Bus’ sessions. Atish watched from a distance how the teams played the game, and how the ‘losing’ team was easily accepted by others. He came to understand that in play and in school, there are no failures, there is only scope for learning.
This is what brought Atish back to school and in the field with renewed vigour and confidence.
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 sessions here 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