It was over 15 months ago that Magic Bus mentor Shahbaz Pasha, in his constant endeavour to reach out to more and more children in the Haleem Nagar community, approached Farhan and his family to enrol him into the Magic Bus programme. Farhan’s parents readily agreed. “Pasha is a local boy and when he said why don’t you send Farhan for this new initiative, we thought it was a great idea. We knew Pasha beforehand and trusted our son with him,” said Tajuiinisa Sharif, Farhan’s mother.
However, Farhan’s participation soon met with the realities of his life situation. Around November 2012, just a few weeks into the Magic Bus sessions, Farhan’s school closed for vacations. This seemed a good opportunity to make some pocket money as well as add to the family income, and so, for a sum of Rs.50 per month, he started assisting at a Mobile Repair shop at the local market. By the time his school re-opened, Farhan found the extra money was needed at home – he couldn’t very well stop bringing in that extra bit. He decided to drop out of school.
When his mentor Pasha found out about this, he organised a few special sessions in the field where everyone discussed the importance of education in their lives. Magic Bus community volunteers shared the day-to-day problems they faced in their work life due to a lack of proper education. “A Magic Bus Community Youth Leader (CYL) revealed that he encountered extremely difficult situations at work as he could not even write his own signature. He had to depend on others and hence, would consume more time than necessary to complete his tasks, always lagging behind,” said Pasha.
Over a period of a couple of months, Farhan not only evolved into a sincere, well-behaved boy himself, but he now also tries his best to help his friends with their studies. He’s now a favourite amongst them.
His parents, too, see visible and considerable improvement in their son. “He never used to listen to me. He would run away if I called after him. But now, after being with Magic Bus, he has become responsible and obedient. He helps me with daily household chores such as cleaning, buying groceries, etc. In his spare time, he also helps his father in his daily work. I’m very happy with this transformation and have no complaints,” Tajuiinisa shared with a smile. “There’s visible improvement in him. He has a better sense of cleanliness and hygiene now, much more than earlier,” added Tajuiinisa.
Farhan inspired his older sister Ruksana to join the Magic Bus programme as well and continues to share what he is learning with other children.
By: Ritika Sen