Block G, Shakurpur is an old settlement in Pitampura, regularised by the Delhi government. Unlike its surrounding areas, Shakurpur is a highly underdeveloped and hygiene is a major issue here.
Residents of Shakurpur are mostly migrants from West Bengal, Nepal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. They work as government labourers, factory workers, sweepers, auto-rickshaw drivers and in other petty jobs.
Most people live in 2- or 3-storey brick structures that are equipped with toilets and running water. The area has underground pipelines and a gutter that serve as drainage for wastewater. Although Shakurpur has number of parks, these are not maintained and serve as dumping grounds for the residents.
Illiteracy rates in the community are high. Children here chew tobacco and smoke cigarettes, and spend their time playing cards. The area is a hub for gambling. Fights break out often and the crime rate in Shakurpur is relatively high. As fallout of this, girls in the community are not allowed to go outside their homes or mingle with boys.
Magic Bus started operations in Block G Shakurpur in January 2013. There are approximately 250 children in the programme. “The children are extremely motivated and attend the sessions with a lot of enthusiasm,” says the Magic Bus Training and Monitoring Officer, Zakhir Khan. He is assisted by Nirkala and Ram Mohan, the Community Youth Leaders selected to oversee the work in the community.
Litesh, a 12-year-old girl, lives in G-Block, Shakurpur, with her parents and two siblings. Her father works in a private company and her mother is a housewife. Litesh is in Std 9 and studies at the local government school. She is very passionate about sports but was unable to play because of the lack of facilities. And, like every other girl in her community, Litesh faces discrimination and inequality at every step.
After she joined Magic Bus, she says, she has started expressing herself better. She found that the sessions helped her gain more confidence. She even helps the Youth Mentors assemble children and conduct Sport for Development sessions.
“But, most importantly, Magic Bus has given me the chance to play football,” says Litesh. Magic Bus mentors saw the potential in her and encouraged her to try out for the Magic Bus Football Team. She goes for practice sessions regularly.
Her family has been very supportive of her growth through Magic Bus. “We are very grateful that Magic Bus helped our child fulfill her dream of playing football. We see the change this has brought in her and are very proud,” say her parents.
Magic bus sessions are held twice a day for two hours each, every Wednesday, and are divided in three parts:
(Photographs from Magic Bus areas of operation are used for representation only.)