Old Daheli, around 10 km away from Ballarpur in Chandrapur, Maharashtra, is a tiny village of about 270 households and around 1,170 people. It has around 142 children in the age group 3-14 years.
Most people live in brick homes and cottages, but there are a few who live in shacks made of leaves and twigs. Approximately, 30 per cent of the population falls in the below-poverty-line (BPL) category. Most inhabitants struggle to earn a livelihood as they live on daily wages.
The ward has a Marathi-medium primary school and a secondary school that caters to children up to Std 10. For higher studies, children have to travel to the district school. The village has a primary healthcare centre , but for major medical issues, residents have to travel to far-off cities for treatment.
The Magic Bus team approached the Sarpanch of the village and was given permission to conduct a demo session. Members of the community were invited to participate so they could understand how the Magic Bus programme works. Sport for Development sessions in Old Daheli started in February 2011 with 50 children, including 25 girls and 25 boys.
Komal More used to be very reserved. Even after joining the Magic Bus programme, when she came for sessions, she would keep to herself. While the other children chatted while they changed their shoes and got ready for the week’s activity, Komal was aloof. Slowly, she started participating in these pre-session activities with other children.
Now, she says, her behaviour has changed completely. The Magic Bus programme gave her the confidence to open up, and participate in activities more freely. At a block-level racing competition recently, Komal stood first. This she attributes to the Magic Bus programme.
Magic Bus has encouraged parents in the community to meet every few months to discuss the development of their children. Topics that the community is unfamiliar with, such as Right to Education, are also discussed at the meetings.
There have also been awareness rallies to educate the community about issues related to health and education.
Sessions at Old Daheli are held every Wednesday from 8am to 10am and are divided into three parts:
(Photographs are from Magic Bus areas of operation and are used for representation only.)