Stories that matter.
Stories that matter. Stories that matter.
Letter from 16-year old Magic Bus volunteer
Life Skills: A Key to Women’s Empowerment

Slums in growing mega cities have drawn various responses from onlookers; from outright anger and disgust to passing nonchalance or complete resignation to their inevitability. We have found their inhabitants to be an object of our sympathy, a subject of our idle solution-rich, tea-table conversations, and a protagonist to numerous Bollywood and Hollywood inspired rags-to-riches stories.

How many of us have ever looked at them for inspiration? How many of us have ever thought that there is a lesson or two we could learn from them?

Here is a letter from a 16-year old whose life took an unforeseen turn when she decided to volunteer in one of Magic Bus' intervention areas.

Dear Mr. Thomas,

I would like to thank you for giving me this incredible opportunity. My time at Magic Bus was an experience of a lifetime. I felt like I was a part of something that mattered, that was meaningful and gave me perspective to be a better person.

The enthusiasm and positive outlook of these children gave me so much to think about. They knew how to experience joy from the common pleasures of life like being with others and participating in play. Even though we come from such diverse backgrounds, we still had so much in common. We

were all kids with dreams and aspirations for our lives.

Initially I was nervous that I might feel guilty for having the life I did and that they would judge me for that, but the warmth and excitement that they welcomed me with took all that nervousness away and made me very comfortable in their surroundings. Infact, they were all quite fascinated about me being from America and wanting to spend time with them.

It was so touching to learn that some of the mentors were people who had grown up on the Magic Bus programme and now wanted to give back to the community in whatever way they could.

This was an India I had never seen before and I must admit I was a bit scared. After my time at Magic Bus, not only have I widened my horizons but I have also learnt that it is important to enjoy the simple things in life and appreciate whatever it is we have. These kids taught me more than I could ever teach them. I only wish I was there longer to continue working with them.

Nevertheless, I will certainly remain a part of Magic Bus here in New York. I would love to help promote the organization and I hope to see you and

the children in the near future when I return to India.

Please give my thanks and appreciation to Prachi and the rest of the Magic Bus team.


Arya Bhalla

Would you or anyone you know like to volunteer with Magic Bus on exciting upcoming events and projects? Contact [email protected].