Stories that matter.
Stories that matter. Stories that matter.
A Ball Can Change the World

Game On: Explore 5 Playful Pedagogical Approaches

At Magic Bus, we take adolescents on the journey from childhood to livelihood for a meaningful future. Teamwork, communication, learning to learn, managing self and problem-solving are the five key life skills that we teach through sports. Sports brings out a lived experience that, when facilitated by a mentor helps draw a connection between experience, life skill and their application in different situations in life. This process helps in developing resilience, self-confidence and aspiration among young people.

Our founder Matthew Spacie, a professional Rugby player himself, saw the openness and courage that a ball can bring to youth from marginalised communities, he was intrigued to try providing a job to them. But he soon realised just placing youth in a job won’t work as there are high chances of them quitting due to the lack of employability skills. To help them sustain in a job they require certain key skills for job such as working in a team, time management, stress and emotional management, self-awareness, goal setting, etc. He realised that he could instil all these skills in youth through sports to ameliorate their lives.

When Matthew realised that there are millions of youth in India that do not fit well in the dynamic world of employment, he thought, why work with just a few children when I can offer a better future to all? That is how Magic Bus was born. As the organisation grew, we understood that with sports, you can achieve more than just physical fitness. It’s a means to achieve greater joy, empowerment and equality in society. Especially in a developing economy like India, sports play an undeniably important role.

Matthew found that the lack of employability skills and crucial life skills is causing the youth to cease or switch their jobs. So he decided to address the root cause at the nascent stage. He started delivering skilling sessions to a small group of adolescents and this kindled the power of life skills among them.

Today, after 23 years of consistant efforts, we are one of the top five NGOs in the education and skilling space in India. Some of the earliest adolescents like Ravi and Parvati are still associated with Magic Bus. It is the people Ravi and Parvati who make this a Great Place to Work. We have also won the Laureus Sports for Good Award and the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan award for the promotion and development of sports. 

We recently won an award at the third Global Soccer Conclave for using Football as a means of change. This award is a recognition of our rigour and resilience and has strengthened our belief in our mission to reach out to 1.6 million young people and equip them with the life skills that enable them to thrive in the transition to adulthood.

Through the efforts of Magic Bus and other like-minded organisations, there’s much greater awareness about life skills among young people. Government has also include life skills in the National Education Policy (NEP). Many states are drawing up a plan for NEP and life skills into curriculum and training the teachers to become the catalysts of change.

We plan to reach out to the hinterlands in the nation with the help of the state government. The teachers trained under our SCALE (School Completion And Livelihood Enablement) programme have started delivering the sessions to the students and witnessing a behavioural changes among themselves and their students. These sessions happen through a dedicated life skills class or by utilising physical education or any other curriculum class. In some cases it can be a part of any academic subject; like in Mizoram, life skills are a part of social science subject that provides a solid base to discuss life skills.

Either way, the education system has started to understand the significance of life skills and their application in day-to-day life and we cannot wait to share our learnings with the next generation.

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