The village of Kistapur in Andhra Pradesh is inhabited by around 400 families, each having on average 4-6 members.
Men and women are primarily engaged in agricultural related work to make a living. Corn and peanuts are primary crops and they earn anywhere between INR 100 - 150 per day. They also earn INR 120 from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). The monthly income of an average family in Kistapur is between INR 4000-4500.
People here belong to different social groups that include Scheduled Castes (Mala and Madiga), Scheduled Tribes (Eruka), Other Backward Classes (Mudhiraj, Gouds, Barbers, Kummari and Rajakars) and Other Classes (Reddy, Muslim, Vysya and Balija) (OBCs is a collective term used by the Government of India for castes which are educationally and socially disadvantaged; the government upholds certain policies to ensure their social and educational development).
Kistapur has poor sanitation and hygiene conditions. More than 80% of the houses are pucca, only 20% of them have toilets and people have access to clean drinking water from bore wells and nearby places.
There are two schools in the village which are attended by most children: an upper primary and a high school. There is also a government primary health centre that takes care of the general medical needs of the people.
The location is a little remote as it is 20km from the nearby town of Parigi and transportation facilities and other infrastructure are yet to develop in Kistapur.
When Magic Bus started work in Kistapur, the village was suffering from little enrollment of children at school. Much of this could be attributed to the monotony of subjects taught in their regular classes. Another important issue that stemmed out of little school attendance was that children would involve themselves in negative behavior, such as bullying and abusing.
Keeping the baselines in mind, Magic Bus designed sessions around education, gender and health and used sport and physical activities to keep children engaged. Through weekly sessions, the children started building a different outlook towards each other and themselves. They became considerate, disciplined and punctual. Negative activity such as bullying decreased, timid and shy children opened up and those who fought bonded as friends.
Change came in over time. Magic Bus gathered fantastic support and a commendable following in Kistapur. A local leader remarked, “We are impressed. Magic Bus changed the behaviour of our kids. They do not abuse anymore and are picking up really healthy habits.” Encouraged by such a response, the Community Youth Leader (CYL) at Kistapur said, “I’m happy to be a part of the sessions as a leader. I enjoy all the new recognition, attention and respect that have made me an important figure in the community. People see me as some kind of a hero.”
Nikitha, one of the children at the session, remarked, “I like to attend Magic Bus sessions because the lessons come wrapped in a different package altogether, which make it so much fun.” Ever since she joined the programme, she has been attending school regularly and her teachers talk about the way her confidence has increased and how she is more concentrated than before.
Magic Bus volunteers and mentors have delivered key messages that include:
Magic Bus sessions at Kistapur last for two hours and are divided into three parts: