With around 500-600 households spread over a small area, Patracharya Basti lies in the Timarpur region of North Delhi, off the busy Mall Road.
The residents of this community work as daily-wage labourers, masons, auto-rickshaw drivers and the like. The roads in this region are mostly full of potholes and poorly maintained.
Open defecation used to be a major public health issue, but with the installation of public community toilets or Sulabh Shauchalayas, this has become slightly less of a menace. However, these are public toilets and not inside the homes, so people have to walk some distance to access the facility. Moreover, this is a paid facility and hence not ideal for low-income neighbourhoods such as Patracharya Basti. But they answer the immediate need of preventing the public health dangers of open defecation. For the community, access to clean drinking water is a major issue, especially in the summer months.
The Magic Bus programme was started at Patracharya Basti in April 2011 with Avinash as the Training and Monitoring Officer in charge of Patracharya Basti. There are around 200 children in this community, with an equal number of boys and girls. Of the 10 Community Youth Leaders who assist Avinash in operations in the community, six are boys and the rest are girls.
Recently, football and painting competitions was organised for both boys and girls in the community. A general knowledge quiz was also organised for the children.
A few of the areas of behaviour change addressed by Magic Bus volunteers and mentors include:
• Importance of personal and environmental hygiene
• Equal treatment of boys and girls
• Importance of education
• Respect for elders
The sessions are held from 4pm to 6pm on Wednesdays and Sundays, and are divided into three 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