Holambi Kalan is a small community located in North-West District of New Delhi. It is an 11-year old resettlement colony, constituted by migrants from other states of the country, who have been living here for almost 22 years. People follow different religions, and there are no reported disputes based on religion, caste or race.A long, 1 hour ride from Delhi's northernmost point, Azadpur, will bring you to Holambi Kalan, divided into Phases and Blocks for easier administration. The area has grown on barren lands, home to a large section of Delhi's erstwhile slum dwellers. A series of beautification drives, the last one just before the 2011 Commonwealth Games, evicted thousands of families from their homes of many decades, and force-housed them here in the satellite settlement at Holambi Kalan. However, lax civic authorities have not really provided for basics such as running water in the houses. The biggest of the challenges is the fact that work is now 3 hours away by bus – which translates into 6 hours of commute every day to just earn basic, subsistence-level incomes that are still not enough to house and feed the families here.
The employment opportunities in Holambi Kalan are limited, and most men are engaged in manual, daily-wage labour. The women in this community support their families by working as domestic maids in nearby houses. Many children also work as rag-pickers.
Child safety is an issue at Holambi Kalan, with quite a few missing children cases reported.
When Lalit (13) joined Magic Bus a year ago, he was a school drop-out. His father, who works as a labourer in a garment factory was tired of listening to complaints from his school and the community about his habits and notorious activities.
Lalit lives with his family in a rented accommodation in Holambi Kalan, north Delhi. The family of seven survives on a meager monthly income of Rs. 7000.
Lalit would never understand the importance of education. His mind was inclined towards outdoor activities and street drawn fun. His name was struck off the school list because of his irregular attendance and poor performance.
Understanding his disposition, Youth Mentor Amit conducted a session on the importance of education. Amit purposely made Lalit the leader in the session. He understood the barriers that come in between him and education through the session. Amit counseled Lalit after the session and enlightened his parents on the importance of education as well.
He took Amit to the school next day and gave him his seat back. Lalit reads in eight standard today and is happy that he went back to school!
Magic Bus volunteers and mentors have delivered key messages such as:
The programme’s key achievements include: enrolment of 63 CYLs in various vocational courses; re-enrolment of 6 out-of-school children into formal education; getting 73 children vaccinated against Hepatits B at a camp organised with the help of a local NGO partner; producing numerous street-plays to promote education awareness in the community; and planning regular community visits and parent meetings.
11-year old Raman says, “Before Magic Bus came, I used to wander around purposelessly, and often used abusive language. Since I got on the programme, things have changed. I’m more in control of myself, and my behaviour has changed.”
At sessions which last for 2 hours and are divided into 3 parts, Magic Bus interacts with children using the following structure: