Wadgaon is a small community of 72 households. 88 per cent of the households are Below Poverty Line.
The community is dominated by the Other Backward Classes (OBC) social group. Most houses are kuchcha or, what we know as mud-and-daub structure. Residents are mostly farmers. There are no other gainful employment opportunities available here.
Unemployment is prevalent. So, is lack of hygienic practices. On the other hand, alcoholism and substance abuse is rampant.
Magic Bus began working in this community since 2014. At present, our programme is transforming the lives of 56 children.
Salman is 11 years old and studies in an open school. He has three siblings - two sisters aged 15 years, and one brother who is 13 years old. Both his parents are agricultural labourers. Their income is uncertain and not enough to meet ends for a family of five.
Salman joined our Magic Bus session last year. Initially, his parents were apprehensive about allowing him to play. Salman has a condition - the left side of his body is less developed than the right. This has caused him to remain mostly indoors with his siblings as his own playmates.
The Community Youth Leader (CYL) convinced Salman's parents to send him for the sessions. At Magic Bus, we believe that every child has a right to play and live a fulfilling childhood. Our play spaces are not only an interactive classroom in the open but also spaces that are inclusive.
Salman started participating in the activities during the Magic Bus sessions. He came regularly since this was his only opportunity to step out in the open and interact with children other than his siblings. He has a large circle of friends. They all encourage him to play. In the process, each child understands and respects the diversity among themselves. Salman has discovered a space where he is accepted and not ridiculed, where he is encouraged and not protected, where he can push the boundaries of his capabilities and enjoy his life without being pitied by others.
A few of the areas of behaviour change addressed by Magic Bus volunteers and mentors include:
Sessions are divided into 3 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.
(Photographs from Magic Bus areas of intervention are used for representation only.)