The Khora village, with its extended population in the form of Khora colony, is situated on the eastern fringe of Delhi. Khora has rapidly changed from being a sparsely populated village in 1971, spread over an area of 426.55 hectares in the Ghaziabad Tehsil of Meerut District with 96 households and a total population of 656, (Census 1971: 55) to a population of 189,410 in 2011. Officially, Khora has been declared a census town in the 2011 census. While these are official census figures, the actual numbers living in Khora seem to be much more with newspaper and other media sources reporting around 1 million in 2013.
Bordered by Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad, Khora has transformed into one of the most densely populated unauthorized colonies of Asia inhabited mostly by low income migrants from UP, Uttaranchal, Bihar and Bengal. This transformation primarily took place due to the development of satellite town of Noida.
Khora presented itself as an affordable place for migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Bihar, Jharkhand where they could either buy a small plot because of the cheap land rates and earn a livelihood due to flexibility to open shops, small workshops in the residence itself, or enter as reties and save up enough to buy a plot later.
The lowest rung living in Khora consist of those who do not own any land and are living on rent in Khora. The rent of a single room ranges from INR 1500 to 3000. They are primarily rickshaw pullers, rag pickers, scrap cart pullers, laborers in the repair or printing shops and young factory workers earning something between INR 7000-12000 in Noida, most of whom are employed on a contractual basis.
In addition, the low end unskilled labor such as security guards, domestic help, nannies, sweepers, drivers, cooks that are required to support those with corporate jobs and lifestyle. The high density of Khora colony and other urban villages in Noida certifies the fact this population cannot afford to live in the planned areas of the city.
Most people in area are uneducated but they are trying to give good education to their children. There are just two government high schools but more than 200 private schools but no government hospital. Residents usually go to private clinics or government hospitals in Delhi or Noida when they are ill. There is no proper water supply or drainage system.
There is no pla ground for children in this community. Due to inadequate garbage disposal practices, the community is surrounded by large mounds of open garbage and the related diseases.
Magic Bus began working in Khora on October 2010. Currently we are working with 1374 children (880 boys & 494 girls).
Kamini remembers how shy she used to be. “Absoultely nothing would coax me to speak up in front of others. I was scared that people would make fun of me if I spoke”, she says with a hint of reminiscence in her voice.
But all this is behind her now. Ever since she started attending Magic Bus sessions in her school, RP school in Khora, she has gained in confidence.
“I can’t believe I have so many friends and that I have much less inhibitions in talking to people than before”, she signs off.
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.)