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Case Story: Salman Baig - Asian Football Development Project (AFDP) & Magic Bus Partnership
Case Story: Salman Baig - Asian Football Development Project (AFDP) & Magic Bus Partnership

The Magic Bus’ Bangalore programme started in Doddananagar Slum Community in November 2011. For community inhabitants livelihood sources include tile making, agarbathi (incense stick) making, beedi (Indian cigarette) rolling, garlic peeling, carpentry, domestic serving and garment making. As you walk down one of Doddanagar’s main roads, you will be greeted with the sound of prayer calls at a Masjid (Mosque), the sight of a small white, spotlessly clean Mother Mary shrine with scattered heaps of trash just a few feet away, the pungent smell of Bangalore’s snake-like open storm drain, and a wooden cart full of fresh fruits and vegetables in front of Murugan temple, all at once.

The Doddananagar community contains a mix of religious backgrounds with a large population of conservative Muslims. Languages spoken include mainly Kannada, Tamil and Urdu. You’ll certainly walk with chickens, dogs, goats and cows alike through the narrow roads which are home to parked auto rickshaws, smiling footwear-less children and a concentrated range of 12ft x 12ft colorful cement homes making up a low skyline. Some homes stack up to three stories high, just like Salman Baig’s home on the second floor of a compact, narrow, staircase building in Block E.

Salman is an ambitious fourteen year old boy attending Amma A. High School. Salman lives with his mother, his father and three sisters. Salman’s mother, Nagina, currently stays at home and watches over the family. Salman’s father is an Electrician, a symbol of pride for Nagina given this job provides a higher income compared to the average.

Currently, 2022 children take part in our sport for development sessions throughout 8 of Doddananagar's neighbourhoods.  Twenty four of these children, 12 girls and 12 boys, train for two hours every weekend for the Magic Bus Football Team (MBFT). MBFT is a specialised football programme in which athletically inclined and interested children from our main sport for development sessions are identified and chosen after a selection process. Salman is the Captain of the first MBFT team in North Bangalore. Appointed Captain in June 2013, three months after joining the MBFT programme, Salman is a natural leader filled with curiosity.

The Magic Bus Football Team (MBFT), supported by the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP), has given Salman the opportunity to build his football and leadership skills, and practice English. Girls and boys from the team train together and often time play mixed matches. Salman supports Magic Bus' push for gender equality - both boys and girls look up to him as a role model.

Salman’s football talent and leadership skills have led him to be selected to participate in a '1,000 Cranes Project Recycled Art and Football workshop' in Bangalore. He also recently traveled to Mysore for the first time for a MBFT Karnataka Exchange Day. He took part in a day of training, friendly matches and a visit to Mysore Palace touring with 25 other selected MBFT Mysore players. He was also one of twelve players participating in the Sunfeast Roots Football League, a two-month football talent tournament across Bangalore.

Salman wants to grow up to be a Chartered Accountant and Footballer. MBFT Bangalore olunteer mentors are diverse in age, gender and occupation - they work or attend college full-time whilst actively playing football. The MBFT Coach encourages balancing football with another profession. One of our MBFT volunteers has a background in Accounting within a global corporate finance company, and Salman has found a mentor in him, so he regularly interacts with him on and off the field.

MBFT Bangalore players had the opportunity to meet local Footballer Amoolya, a national and international level Footballer, and Physical Education Teacher. Salman confidently shared his own bio and favorite football move with Amoolya, Chitra (Former National Goalkeeper) and Kamal (former State Level Footballer). Exposures like this have sparked Salman’s ambition as his confidence in playing and interaction skills strengthen. Our Youth Mentors and Training & Monitoring Officers often assign him the task of assembling the team before practice.

Nagina, Salman’s mother, explained that the Magic Bus Football Team has brought about positive changes in Salman. Seeing how her son has excelled in the past year, Nagina is keen on her daughter joining MBFT someday. With Magic Bus' and family support, Salman’s mother and grandmother strongly feel he will achieve his future goals.

To find out more about Magic Bus, visit www.magicbus.org.

To find out more about the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP), visit www.the-afdp.org

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