Gopalpur is a slum area in North Delhi. Wazirabad is the closest city, and people commute by bus or auto-rickshaw. It is a mixed community constituting of migrants from other states who have been living here for almost 22 years. The population is approximately 1,000-1,500. Of these, approximately 40% are women.
Most residents live in juggis (mud huts). The men mostly work as daily-wage labourers or in vegetable stalls. The women in this community support their families by working as domestic maids in nearby houses. Many children also work as rag-pickers. People follow different religions, and there are no reported disputes based on religion, caste or race.
Even though the government provides tankers, water is not available at all times, and residents have to queue up to get water from the dam nearby. There is only one drainage pipe in Gopalpur. This is usually clogged, rendering the area unclean. Some homes are equipped with toilets, while others are not.
The nearest schools are in Gandhi Vihar and Mukherjee Nagar, which are at a distance of 2-3 km from Gopalpur. Given the lack of age-appropriate inputs including formal education, petty crime thrived among the older children, especially boys. Girls were limited to their homes by rampant sexual harassment outside.
Magic Bus started operations in Gopalpur in 2011 with 50 children from the community. Approximately 40% of these children were girls.
Recently, a football tournament as well as a painting competition was organized. The football competition was organized for both boys and girls whilst the painting competition was only for girls.
When he saw that his community lacks green cover, he led a campaign to promote planting trees.
When he saw children dropping out, he led a campaign persuading parents to send their children back to school.
He was the helping hand for students who struggled to do well in academics.
Meet Kundan, our Community Youth Leader (CYL) from Gopalpur. He is in high school and has been with Magic Bus for the last four years. Kundan’s father is a vegetable vendor and the only earning member of the family.
Kundan discovered his leadership potential during his 4-year-long journey with Magic Bus. Initially, he was very shy and afraid to talk and engage with others. As the sessions progressed, he started opening up to others. He also started participating and sharing his opinion during Sit-Breathe-Think. When he was selected to be the CYL he was surprised but took up the responsibility bravely. Through training sessions, he honed his skills as a facilitator so much so that the children started loving the energy that his sessions contained. He also earned a lot of respect and recognition in the community.
Sessions are held twice a day from Wednesday to Sunday for different batches. Sessions are held from 8am to 9:30am and from 5pm to 6:30pm. 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