Block I, Sangam Vihar, is located near Green Field area in South Delhi.
The population is around 2,000, of which 800 are children. The area mostly has pucca houses. Most of the men from this community work as rag-pickers, cobblers, labourers and shopkeepers. Women work as the help in nearby houses and shops.
Water supply in the area is inadequate and the community suffers from water scarcity in the summer. The area has a functional drainage system. Not all the houses are equipped with toilets. There are no community toilets in the area either. As a result, residents have to resort to open defecation.
Magic Bus started operations in Block I, Sangam Vihar, in 2012. The programme covers 49 children, of which 13 are girls. Rituraj, 23, is the Training and Monitoring Officer in charge of the community. He is assisted by 22-year-old Youth Mentor Preeti, and a 22-year-old Community Youth Leader, Hardeep.
Fifteen-year-old Abhishek lives in Block I, Sangam Vihar, with his parents and five siblings. His father works as a clerk and mother is a housewife. Abhishek dropped out of school and started working as a rag picker to supplement his family income.
He started attending Magic Bus sessions in 2013. Initially, Abhishek was not comfortable in playing with girls. Noticing this, the Youth Mentor explained to him that girls had as much potential in the playing field as boys.
This counselling helped. Gradually, Abhishek overcame his inhibitions. He now plays comfortably with both boys and girls.
He was also re-enrolled in the Government School at Sangam Vihar. Currently, he is in Std 11. Abhishek and his parents thank Magic Bus for helping him get a sense of direction.
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
Sessions are held on Sundays from 10 am to 12 pm and are divided into 3 parts:
(Photographs from Magic Bus areas of operation are used for representation only.)