Block B, Bakkarawala, is a very low-income neighbourhood in North Delhi, with around 756 households and a population of around 4,000.
A majority of the people work as daily wage labourers in nearby factories. There is a government school that caters to children up to Standard 10. Like in other such localities in the Indian Capital, Bakkarwala too is reeling under very serious sanitation problems, compounded by the absence of a drainage system. Whenever it rains, waste lying in the open causes a major public health issue in the community. The scarcity of water is the other major issue. The divisional board provides water tankers every days, so residents have no choice but to live in perpetual shortage.
Magic Bus started operations in Block B, Bakkarawala, in September 2011
14-year-old Kapil joined Magic Bus in 2012 when Youth Mentor Akhilesh undertook a door-to-door survey in B-block Bakkarwala. Kapil lives with his parents and four siblings in a one-bedroom shanty after being driven out of their house in Pritampura due to a resettlement drive.
Kapil joined Magic Bus as a careless 12-year-old who had little respect for elders and created trouble for the young in the community. He would take drugs and encourage other children and youth from his neighbourhood to practice the same.
“Kapil’s induction meant nuisance to the sessions, yet we were determined to bring about a change in him”, remarks Akhilesh. Akhilesh began to take individual sessions with him and counseled him regularly.
“Spending time with Akhilesh sir helped me al lot! I started to understand the small yet important things about life” says Kapil with a glint of pride in his eye.
Gradually, Kapil was able to come out of his habit of taking drugs. He now leads the sessions and also assists Akhilesh set up community meetings and door-to-door visits with the parents and children.
A few of the areas of behaviour change addressed by Magic Bus volunteers and mentors include:
Importance of personal and environmental hygiene
Sessions are held on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and are divided into three parts: