Greenfield in Sangam Vihar is located near the affluent Sainik Farms in South Delhi. The colony was recently authorised as part of the Government of Delhi’s drive to bring slum settlements into the ambit of the municipal corporation. 3000 families reside in this area. The area surrounding the houses where the Magic Bus sessions are held is a sparsely wooded area, so locals call it ‘Greenfield’.
Most of the houses have the basic amenities of running water and electricity. However open defecation is still a problem in the area and the households face acute shortages of both water and electricity during the summer. Water tankers are provided by the Government to deal with the issue but tankers always lead to disputes.
The Magic Bus programme was launched here in August 2012. Sessions are conducted for about 60 children from this community with the help of a staff member, Preeti and two 18 year old volunteers Aftab and Tinku (at Magic Bus we call our volunteers Community Youth Leaders).
"My relationship with Magic Bus has been my most interesting experience so far. When we had started this programme, some of our young participants were abusive, with unhygienic habits that compromised their health and well-being. As they began attending the sessions, both their personal habits and attitude changed drastically. We could clearly see a shift in the cleanliness levels, the change in the kind of language children were using, and their general attitude towards other people,” says Preeti. Preeti, Aftab and Tinku were also instrumental in cleaning up a local playground to make it usable as a ground to run the sessions in. “In Indian conditions, developing playfields has become a default requirement wherever we want to work,” says Avik Swarnakar, Magic Bus’ State Lead in Delhi.
Which is where advocacy activities come in handy. A handball and a football tournament were conducted in the area, to act as conversation starters on the important issues surrounding public health and child development. A rally was also held on the subject on health and hygiene this year.
Two sessions are conducted every weekend evening for 30 children each, and are structured in this way: