Village Tanda is located in the Bhadravati block of Maharashtra’s Chandrapur District. With just 91 households, this is among the tiniest settlements we work in.
Most villagers are from OBCs (OBCs is a collective term, used by the Government of India, for castes which are educationally and socially disadvantaged - the government is enjoined to ensure their social and educational development) & STs (Scheduled Tribes is a group of historically-disadvantaged people recognised in the Constitution of India. During the period of British rule in the Indian subcontinent, they were known as the Depressed Classes) communities. Farming is the only occupation.
One persistent problem noticed by the Magic Bus team who started work here was the popularity of tobacco chewing, especially among men. Chewing tobacco is widely considered as the number one cause of oral cancer and the Government runs repeated public health campaigns to dissuade people from the habit.
Eight- year-old Khushi joined Magic Bus sessions in 2011. She was irregular to the sessions. She would usually prefer to stay at home to help her mother with the household chores or take care of her younger brother. Both her parents were agricultural labourers with no land of their own. Their income was no more than Rs 4000 a month. The family of four hardly had enough to make four meals a day.
Khushi went to the ashram school in her village.
Khushi’s irregularity did not go unnoticed. The youth mentor and community youth leader tried every trick in the book to get her to attend the sessions. They began with a home visit, encouraging her parents, speaking with Khushi – but all was in vain.
They had almost given up when things suddenly turned around.
Magic Bus children from Tanda were about to receive their TOMS shoes. This was a part of a donation by TOMS America to support Magic Bus’ work. The sessions on the day the shoes were to be distributed among the children talked of the importance of covering the feet. The youth mentor was surprised to find Khushi among the group. She, too, received a pair of shoes and looked very happy about it.
The next day Khushi was in the field at the designated time wearing her new shoe.
She has not missed a single session since.
Khushi has turned eleven this year. She still goes to the ashram school in her neighbourhood. In the evenings, you will see her in the field, laughing and playing around.
Magic Bus initiated its sports for development session in Tanda on 18th Jun 2011, with Jitesh Banod as the Community Youth Leader running the Magic Bus sessions with 28 children. A Community Youth Leader is a volunteer who gets 120 hours of training in the sport for development curriculum.
The sessions are divided into three parts.
The Panchayat at the community has been very supportive of the Magic Bus sessions. They have cooperated to the fullest, including allocating a ground for community meetings and various tournaments.
Regularly organised events such as essay competitions, parent meetings and home visits to advocate the benefits of the programme help keep everyone connected to the children’s growth.