Kondli is a small area in one of the poorest parts of east Delhi. Located in Noida near the Ghaziabad border area, this locality is a sharp contrast to Mayur Vihar, where very affluent families live in pockets.
There is a small population of migrants that work as daily-wage labourers and are involved in construction work. Others work as rag pickers.
The colony gets its water supply from tankers, but these are irregular and clean water is scarce.
Mohit Yadav is the Youth Mentor in charge of the programme. “The percentage of girls in our programme is very low. Our main aim is to encourage more parents to send their daughters for Magic Bus sessions,” he says.
Rajesh is a 12-year-old boy who lives in Kondli with his parents and 5-year-old brother. His father runs a small grocery shop in the locality. Rajesh is currently studying in class 6.
At age 10, Rajesh was already addicted to chewing tobacco (gutka). It was only after he started coming for Magic Bus sessions that he learned about the bad effects of this habit, and with the support provided by Magic Bus team he has finally been able to overcome it.
“One day, I entered the park chewing tobacco. I started playing the game of gulli-danda with my friends. Just then, I saw a group of 20-25 boys. Near them was a bag with ‘Magic Bus’ written on it. Then came the bhaiya and opened the bag. He took out the cricket equipment from it. All the children got very excited and started saying “Pilelo-ho, pilelo-ho”. I got very curious and went to stand by the group to learn more. I just stood there observing what the children were doing,” says Rajesh.
“I found that the children were enjoying themselves and having lots of fun. I requested bhaiya to let me join the group too. He agreed and I also started playing with the others. At the end of the game, bhaiya took a review and talked about the harmful effects of having tobacco/gutka,” he says.
“I started coming to the sessions regularly and enjoyed playing. But still I could not overcome my bad habit. Then one day, bhaiya took me to Lal Bhadur Shastri Hospital. There, he showed me through pictures and displays the harmful effects of tobacco/gutka. I got scared just looking at the pictures and decided to give up the habit,” Rajesh says.
“But it was difficult. Finally, after around nine months of efforts, I managed to quit completely. My family was also happy to see this change in me. I attend Magic Bus sessions regularly and have been learning a lot from them,” says Rajesh.
Sport for Development sessions last for two hours and are divided into three parts:
(Photographs from Magic Bus areas of operation are used for representation only.)