Puttapahed in Kulkacherla Mandal within the Ranga Reddy District of Andhra Pradesh is a village with 403 families. Each family has 5 members on average. The community is primarily involved in agriculture; maize and paddy are the major crops grown here. The entire family, including children, is involved in agricultural labour and related work. Since this work is seasonal, it happens mostly during the monsoons. Despite a government ruling setting a minimum wage limit at INR 120, the females here earn only INR 100 on average and the males earn INR 150. On rare occasions in the summer season, the government allots them additional work and men and women earn an equal pay of INR 120 daily. The average monthly income of a family is INR 5,000-5,500.
Communities from Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs is a collective term used by the Government of India for castes which are educationally and socially disadvantaged; the government is working to ensure their social and educational development) live together in Pattapahed. Some of the prominent ones include Maadiga and Maala (SC), Mudhiraj, Edgi (BC), Reddy and Balija (OC).
The sanitation conditions in the village are appalling. Clean drinking water is difficult to find and this causes many health problems in the community and problems in agriculture. The primary health centre is 10km away from the village. Puttapahed has one primary government school and one government high school.
Magic Bus operations started in September 2010 in Puttapahed with 110 children and Community Youth Leaders (CYLs) Y. Raju, D. Venkatesh, Md. Mehamudha and Ms. Laxmi. The village, after initial cynicism and inhibitions, eventually became very supportive of Magic Bus after persuasion by the youth leaders. The local leaders and the Panchayat have come forward and supported the programme, too.
Off the training field, we supplement our activities by working with the communities our children come from. Besides regular meetings with children and parents, we hold rallies, cleanliness drives and community-wide sporting events aimed at empowering and strengthening these communities.
The school principal says, “I’m very happy that because of Magic Bus, participation in sports and general attendance at school has increased especially in the case of girls. The girls hardly came out and played before Magic Bus intervened but now they are getting a great opportunity.”
V. Govardhan, a regular at the sessions, says, “I’m very excited since every day I make new friends and play new games. I really like playing football and handball. I look forward to each session and I will attend all sessions without fail.”
The current Youth Mentor, Y. Raju, says, “I never imagined that I would get an opportunity to aid in the development of my village’s children. I feel really proud and privileged because of the treatment I get form the children and the respect and recognition I get form the villagers.”
Ward member Subramanyam told us that Magic Bus would have all the support from the Panchayat and they were very happy that Magic Bus had arrived in their village.
Magic Bus operations have led to a positive change in the communities in Puttapahed. Some of these include:
A typical Magic Bus session lasts for two hours and is divided into three parts: