The Sonia Gandhi community, named after the President of a major political party in India, is near Pehladpur in South Delhi. About 2,000 people call the area home. Most work as labourers, drivers or mechanics, earning below-poverty-line wages.
The Magic Bus programme was started in April 2011 with Mohit Choudhary as the Training and Monitoring Officer in charge of operations here. There are around 80 children in this community, of which about 60% are boys.
Recently a kho-kho competition for boys and girls was organised at the Badarpur Government School. A team of 16 children was sent (14 girls, two boys) and the winners were given Rs 5,000.
Children in the programme have made aware about the importance of school and education, and the opportunities present around them.
8-year-old Zafar found it difficult to make friends. He had picked up some bad words from his peers at school and he would often use them liberally on others.
During Magic Bus sessions, Zafar understood the value of respecting other people. “It is like play. We have to cooperate. And, how was I to cooperate with others when I kept on abusing them?”, quizzes Zafar.
He feels that Magic Bus sessions have taught him to “respect all those who are not like us”.
Sessions are held on Tuesdays and Fridays and around 40-50 children attend the session in a day. There are five Community Youth Leaders, of which three are boys. The sessions last for two hours each and 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
(Photographs are from Magic Bus areas of operations and are used for representation only.)