"Goal!" had echoed in chorus during our football matches. I used to be thrilled as the ball soared into the net. It made me really excited and confident. It felt as though I could accomplish something significant,” Barnil remembers.
In the lively neighbourhood of Birubari, nestled in the hills of Guwahati, lived a young football enthusiast named Barnil. Amidst the dusty streets and bustling alleys, Barnil's spirit shone with determination and dreams. He studied in the eighth grade at Birubari Rupnagar Vidyalaya.
In a close-knit community, Barnil enjoyed the simple joys of studying and playing with his friends. His dreams went beyond the ordinary—he imagined a future as a footballer. To achieve this, he exercised daily to keep his body strong and his mind sharp, all while attending school regularly.
But life, as it often does, takes unpredictable turns. An accident struck like a sudden storm. "Barnil encountered an accident, falling from his bicycle when he was around 9-10 years old. The accident resulted in a significant leg injury that required him to undergo surgery. The recovery spanned a considerable time, and even now, he struggles to move and walk without assistance," recounted his father.
His vibrant dreams were now enveloped in a cocoon of physical and emotional wounds. Football, once his passion, had become a distant yearning. His current leg condition dashed his hopes of playing football. He also grappled with diminished confidence in school. The once talkative boy had withdrawn into solitude and made him seek silent refuge amongst his classmates in school.
Road Accidents' Wake-Up Call
Regrettably, road traffic injuries now majorly contribute to fatalities, disabilities, and hospitalisations, imposing significant socioeconomic challenges worldwide. The grim data(1) from 'Road Accidents in India 2021' illustrates the severity – with 4,12,432 recorded road accidents that year, claiming 1,53,972 lives and injuring 3,84,448 people.
Additionally, these statistics prompt us to consider the impact on adolescents who experience accidents of this nature. It raises questions about their ability to continue attending school and maintain their motivation for education, especially when facing challenging economic circumstances.
Although Barnil continued to attend school despite the accident's impact on his aspirations, he lacked motivation. During this period, Magic Bus India Foundation (MBIF) introduced the Life Skills Education Programme in his school. The MBIF team noticed both Barnil and his father, and as they elucidated the sessions, his father joined in. A glimmer of hope ignited in his mind – perhaps he though his son had a future? Through the Life Skills Education Programme sessions, the school transformed into a platform for change, and Barnil embarked on a transformative journey.
Initially, Barnil's participation in the sessions wavered. The Magic Bus Youth Mentor (YM), Khairul Islam Khan, coaxed him out of his shell, nurturing his curiosity and kindling his interest in the sessions. The journey was tough, but the youth mentor’s steadfast commitment began to work its magic. Gradually, Barnil's horizons expanded beyond the boundaries of his accident.
Home visits became the anchors of support, bridging Barnil to a network of encouragement. Nurtured within this supportive environment, Barnil's transformation took root.
The Life Skills Education programme acted as his sanctuary for learning—a realm where activities designed to enhance problem-solving, self-assuredness and self-management skills breathed a fresh sense of confidence into him. Each session not only taught life skills but also fortified his resilience. Additionally, he earned a trophy in a Magic Bus quiz competition that stands as a testament to his victory.
As Barnil looked back on his journey, he opened up about his growth, saying, "I've picked up the skills to face challenges head-on and manage responsibilities well. It's interesting how, despite missing football, I've found my strengths in different fields. And through it all, I've seen my self-confidence and self-reliance flourish, boosting my self-esteem.
Yet, the echoes of 'Goal!' still resonate within me. It's just that now the chant is paired with my pursuit of knowledge. I remember exclaiming 'Goal!' when I received a prize in a quiz competition."
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Success Stories and discover more of these enlightening narratives.