Kitali (Chandrapur District, Maharashtra) is a village with 242 families. The community is primarily involved in agriculture. The entire family, including children, is involved in agricultural labour and related work. This work, however, is seasonally available only, making it difficult or the families to make ends meet all through the year.
The Kitali village is mostly comprised of communities from some of India’s most marginalized sections – the Scheduled Castes, Tribes and Other Backward Castes.
11-year-old Nikhil was born with a disabled right hand. Nikhil’s parents, who work as daily wage labourers in a farm in Chandrapur district, Maharashtra, could not afford a medical treatment for their son. Their average daily income is just Rs. 200.
When Nikhil turned 3, he took admission in a government school in the village neighbourhood. However, the financial conditions of his home were such that he had to step out and help his parents earn some extra money. As a result, his studies suffered and so did his involvement in sports.
When Nikita, Youth Mentor, Magic Bus began approaching families in the community for an intervention, the families resisted her efforts. After a long standing battle with the families, parents consented to send their children for sessions under their guidance.
“Nikhil was a tricky child to come around. Since he was physically disabled, he was used to being ridiculed at. His confidence levels were thus, very low”, reflects Nikita. Nikhil would never step outside to play with other boys; he felt his hand was an impediment in his pursuit of sports.
“We began with involving him in workout sessions. He would feel intimidated by everyone else. Gradually he began opening up with his peers. Once they began to involve him actively, he started to see his own strength. This was the turning point for Nikhil!” adds Nikita.
Many of Nikhil’s misconceptions about caste, disability and gender were neutralized after participating in activities such as “bade miyan, chottein miyan” and sessions on gender equality and right to play. “I want to help people who are suffering from a similar predicament”, says Nikhil with a glint in his eyes.
Today Nikhil is an avid footballer. He leaves no opportunity of playing either in school or with his community boys.
Magic Bus sports-for-development sessions are held every Friday between 4.00 and 6.00pm. The sessions follow the following structure:
• 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