Block A in Bawana is a resettlement colony consisting of about 1200 households. Most of the houses in this area are pucca, some even going onto 3 stories high, even though the contraction quality is sub-optimal. All homes are equipped with basic amenities such as electricity, drainage and taps for water. However, the tap water is not fit for drinking and the summer months sees the area facing acute water shortage and electricity fluctuations.
A single Sulabh Sauchalaya (a paid public toilet facility) in the block caters to all the households, since most homes do not have their own toilets. The drainage in the area is exceedingly dirty and poses a severe public health challenge. The open drains overflow with household waste and fill the surrounding air with a dreadful stench. Residents suffer frequent bouts of common ailments like diarrhoea as a result of their living conditions.
The families living in this community have relocated from the JJ colony (the name give to any slum cluster in the Capital) in Nai Pul, near Raj Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna. Most residents work in the nearby DSIDC factories and earn an average monthly income of about Rs 3000 to Rs 4000. Illiteracy rates are high. The only school in the area is too small to accommodate all children living within the area. Often, more than 100 kids are stuffed into a single classroom, with some peering in from the windows to listen to what the teacher is saying.
Residents complain of very high crime rates. Lootings, thefts and even murders are everyday occurrences. Drug use is popular as a recreational activity, especially among youth. The area is a major hub for drug dealers and peddlers. Children as young as 10-years old are exposed to alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana. It is not a safe area for women either. “Recently, a women and her husband were murdered in broad daylight because she refused to hand over her gold earrings", recounts Poonam, the Magic Bus team member in charge of this area.
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
Magic Bus sessions here 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