Appreciate, encourage, improve – some of the most essential elements of being a mentor with Magic Bus. These elements can easily turn a seemingly impossible situation around.
For one, these can transform an otherwise-shy, easily-irritable, impulsive 19-year-old into a well-behaved, mature, compassionate boy, all in a matter of a few weeks.
Meet Rahul. He is in grade 12 at school, and between seven other siblings and his parents at home. The entire family of 10 lives in a one-room tenement in Vishwanath Puri, Bhalaswa Slum in New Delhi. His father works on daily wages, just able to make ends meet. His mother sells vegetables to support her husband in her limited capacities
When Magic Bus became operational in Bhalaswa, Rahul was identified by youth mentor Nirmal as a bright, cheerful boy willing to change things around him. He was encouraged to join the programme, to which he happily agreed and soon Magic Bus found a new community youth leader (CYL) in him. Rahul was elated upon receiving a formal training in September 2010 just before he started conducting sessions on his own.
After a short phase of excellence in conducting the sports for development activities, however, Rahul’s enthusiasm and energy dropped. The condition worsened with time and we soon saw a time when he would come to the sessions and be reserved on the field. He would be lost in a world of his own, and when asked, he would be irritable. Soon, this developed into a situation where he would not be able to relate to children properly.
Rahul’s behaviour at school and home changed, too. He started bunking classes at school, and would roam around with strangers during late hours in the evening. His teachers and parents were disappointed and clueless about this young boy.
At Magic Bus too, he would frequently turn up late for the sessions and stand silently on the sidelines. The local youth had to constantly request him to be prompt for the sessions and actively take part. He would retaliate, get angry and often argue.
This was the situation in which Magic Bus came up with an idea of using the community youth leader Refresher Training to help Rahul relate to his goals. At the training community youth leaders like Rahul were encouraged to share their experiences in conducting sessions with children, advocating for children’s rights with parents and negotiating with the community for support. They talked about life in general too, both on and off the field.
To further build upon this platform of sharing, Magic Bus added an element of awarding CYLs who were performing exceptionally well. For the first month, Rahul was chosen the ‘CYL of the month’ and his work was exemplified within the group. Gently, his diversion from his responsibilities was also mentioned, and he was encouraged to be back with a bang.
The peer sharing and feedback method worked! Rahul felt he was important to the cause of building better tomorrows for his neighbourhood’ children, and gained a lot of motivation to give his best on the field. Further, he joined the DDA Sports Boating Club at Bhalswa, where he regularly practices. Rahul went to participate in a National-level boating tournament in Mumbai, and came back with the 2nd position. He participated in similar events in Madhya Pradesh, too.
In no time, Rahul gained popularity, and became a known face in the community. He enjoys the attention which comes with a lot of responsibility, and has started living more actively. The sessions have a new life because of him.
Today, Rahul is changed young adult. He is looked up to in his community as a smart, understanding, caring and progressive young adult with a lot of potential o give back to his community as well as improve his own and his family’s life situation. About his transformation, he says, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something; but I can’t accept is not trying!”Back