Block A1 is a small colony of about 1,500 people in JJ Camp, Madanpur Khadar, in south Delhi. The Delhi Development Authority bought up most of these lands and turned them into a mid-sized neighbourhood of flats. As the demographic face of the area changed, Madanpur Khadar quickly degenerated into slum-like conditions. In the absence of civic or sewerage facilities, mosquitoes breed in cesspools and mountains of garbage are stacked up everywhere.
All the houses are covered with cemented and plastic sheets. Most of the residents work as labourers, who spend on their livelihood whatever they earn in a day.
Awareness of the importance of health and hygiene is very low in the community. The Magic Bus team has been working tirelessly towards changing this, and have been successful to a great extent.
The school dropout rate is also high, which also something that is being addressed every day.
Another major concern is gender inequality. Here girls and boys aren’t allowed to mingle and play together. These are the few major concerns that the Youth Mentors and the Community Youth Leaders have faced.
The Magic Bus programme was started in A1 Madanpur Khadar in December 2012. There are 400 children in the programme, of which only 157 are girls.
Shalin Khan lives in A1, Madanpur Khadar and belongs to a very poor family. Her father, Mansur Khan, a rickshaw puller, is the only earning member in the household.
Shalin is in Class 5 and she studies at the M.C.D. School. She has been attending Magic Bus’ Sport for Development sessions since July 2013.
When she first started attending sessions, the Magic Bus team noticed that she was extremely introverted. The reason for this, they found, was the incidence of gender inequality in the community. Girls were discouraged from going out of the house and playing, especially with boys. Even after she joined Magic Bus, she would refuse to play. After being asked repeatedly what the reason was, she told the Magic Bus team that she did not have permission from her parents and hence would not play with boys.
The staff then talked to her family, but they refused to let her play with boys. Even after consistent meetings, they refused to allow their child to come out and play. The staff then decided to invite the parents to see the sessions so that they can be assured that no harm would befall their child.
After seeing a few sessions, Salin’s parents reluctantly agreed to send their child to play. The staff then worked on motivating Shalin by conducting regular counselling sessions. She responded positively to this and is now an active participant in the programme. She attends sessions regularly and also takes the lead in many sessions.
Sport for Development sessions are held once a week and last for two hours. Sessions are conducted in three stages:
(Photographs from Magic Bus areas of operation are used for representation only.)