Wednesday, April 30

Let’s bring change through sport – Discover 365 Project – Day 85

By Ashish Gupta, Magic Bus volunteer photographer

Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
What is Magic Bus?

Magic Bus is a non-profit working with 250,000 children, in 17 states, with some of India’s most marginalised neighbourhoods, using sport as a mechanism to institute behavioural change. It steers children towards a better life with better awareness, better life skills, and better opportunities, in the journey from childhood to livelihood.

Find more about Magic Bus here:

What is International Day of Sports for Development and Peace?

“Due to its vast reach and unparalleled popularity, sport is ideally positioned to contribute towards the United Nations’ objectives for development and peace. To raise awareness of this potential, 6 April has been declared as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) by the UN General Assembly.” Find more about IDSDP here :

The Magic Bus programme involves the delivery of weekly sports for development sessions to spread awareness about education, gender ,health, leadership and livelihood.

The Magic Bus Football Team is a specialised programme that selects children from the overall pool and trains them in football. Apart from training the players in football, Magic Bus Football Team also helps the kids build personal, social and team building skills.

What do you think is the powerful tool nowadays for learning and awareness? 

Internet. It has become so much a part of how we live that few recall what life was like without it. News? Learning? Online Training? Locations? You name it. The Magic Bus Football Team Bangalore, conducted an online training session to make players aware of the knowledge and power of internet, content on Youtube, blogging and sharing their vision through it. The players were fascinated when they came to know how a small document shared by someone can touch so many lives.

How often do we get to share our life’s vision? How often do we change our life’s goals? How many of us truly follow our interests and do what we love rather than doing what we are forced to do. Magic Bus conducted a session on ‘My Dreams, My Future’. Every mentor shared how their life has changed from childhood to livelihood and how they are chasing their dreams. It was fascinating to hear when the players share what they wanted to be in the future. Magic Bus, through their mentorship program helps these children in shaping their future.

On the event of International Day of Sports for Development and Peace, Magic Bus conducted an online training session on April 6th. This photo story is a small attempt in supporting their cause.

The Day started with the ‘Introductions’. Each player and mentor introduced themselves with their favourite football move.

Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
Mentors then shared a video to start the day.
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
Mentors explained the strategy and tactics, mannerisms, techniques, formations, styles of other practicing and professional footballers.
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
The players and mentors surfed the web collaboratively to come up with a video on a chosen theme. It also helped them understand the importance of working as a team.
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
The Players then explained what they learned from the drill in front of their peers and mentors.

Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
After having lunch and dancing to some good music, mentors and the players discussed the topic “My Dreams, My Future”. The mentors shared how sport can provide so many employment opportunities. The Kids then shared their vision. We spoke face to face with future soldiers, doctors, musicians, football players, archaeologists etc.
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
The Players then laid out their dream by designing a poster of their vision.
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85

The Dreams laid out. We had some really beautiful posters. We sure had some artists and painters.
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
The Pilelo-Ho Shout-Out
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
The Magic Bus Football Team, Bangalore
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
Change !! Change is needed. Within us, within the people around us. Magic Bus is doing an excellent job in bringing a change through sport.
Magic Bus IDSDP – Discover365 Project – Day85
I have been working with Magic Bus as a volunteer photographer since October 2013. It has been an eye opener for me. It helped me understand how sport can help change so many lives.

Special thanks to the mentors for sharing their knowledge on football,and its role in development:
- Mithran Sudhir, MBFT volunteer football coach
- Amal Jeevan
- Vikram Philip Rajkumar
- Prashant Abhishek
- Vivek Chockalingam
- Pritha Chakravarti
- Abhijit Sinha
- Sushil Chandekar
- Manoj Kumar
- Shaona Sen, MBFT Manager, facilitator
Article Source: Photo essay by Ashish Gupta, Volunteer at Magic Bus.
Original Article:
Photos by: Ashish Gupta 

Wednesday, April 23

Magic Bus Trainers at EMPOWER 2014 Youth Conference

EMPOWER 2014 is ROTA’s (Reach Out To Asia) sixth annual 3-day Youth Conference on Leadership, Service Learning and Global Citizenship, Qatar. In the last 5 five years, EMPOWER has gained a reputation as the first youth-led conference in Qatar. It focuses on equipping young people with skills to take active roles in building their communities, as well as and having a voice on global issues. [1]

Our CEO Pratik Kumar (second from right) participating in one of the panel discussions

The main aim of the event was to raise awareness and build knowledge and capacity to enable young people to take leadership roles in addressing local and international developmental issues of concern to them.The three-day event included a combination of seminar, panel discussion, power speeches, keynote speeches, small group workshops, off-site visits, and a youth panel. The major theme was Sports for Youth Empowerment. [2]

Two of our Magic Bus Trainers, Aman Sharma and Subhomoy Bhaduri, took part in the conference. Their role involves recruiting and training youth to deliver the Magic Bus programme in the field to children from some of the poorest communities across India. At Empower 2014, Aman and Subhomoy conducted a workshop on leadership, exploring the advantages and disadvantages of various leadership styles through an experiential activity, encouraging young people who took part to develop their own styles.

They demonstrated how sport can be used to address “socio-emotional learning”. A group activity began after some ice-breakers. The group played “touchdown handball”, a game where players pass the ball among their team with the overall objective of touching the ball down on their opponent’s line. [3.1]

The game was played with a difference as there was no referee during the game, the players were responsible for keeping score, penalising unfair play and resolving disputes. The reason for this gets to the heart of the socio-emotional learning curriculum by Magic Bus. Playing sport can lead to strong emotions, both positive and negative. Without the presence of a referee, participants need to confront those emotions, find a resolution and manage the way they behave. [3.2]

Emotions experienced on the sport field can mirror those felt in everyday life. People experience conflict or anger at school, at work and at home: by learning to deal with these situations and manage emotions in a controlled environment, difficult day-to-day situations can become less challenging. [3.3]

The relationship between sport and everyday life.

The final activity brought the group together to discuss the game and situations that arose. Participants highlighted a range of situations which caused conflict or anger, and skills, such as teamwork, communication and negotiation, which were needed to navigate these potential flash points. A central component the of Magic Bus programmes requires the facilitator to relate the activity to participants' daily lives, highlighting the need to manage emotions and negotiate – both on and off the sports field. [3.4]

Photo 1: Review on different Leadership Styles                          Photo 2: Ice-breakers before the group activity
Photo 3: Group activity in progress                                               Photo 4: Post-activity discussion
"There was great participation from different countries. This exposure gave us an understanding of the cultural aspect to sport, though there were leaders from various organisations present, one would notice that some would not get involved with the opposite gender whilst taking part in a group activity," shared Aman.

Subhomoy added that the participation at this conference was interesting to note. Although there was a language barrier, the enthusiasm shown by participants to learn and be involved in all the activities and discussions were evident.

They said they found, amidst the gathering of great young minds, a network of skills and talents, and felt encouraged by the spirit of the EMPOWER initiative.

Article source:
[1] ROTA website:
[2], [3]


Tuesday, April 15

Case story > Magic Bus Connect Programme > Pardeep Kumar, Age 20

Pardeep Kumar
(Photo: Heena Patel)
Pardeep lives with his parents and four siblings in a single room in JJ Colony within one of the largest resettlement slums in Delhi, Bhalswa. This 14-year-old community is mainly inhabited by migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Although they live in concrete homes which usually consist of 1 small room, they are in close proximity to a landfill area which creates a significant health hazard. To make things worse, the community is forced to use open spaces as their chamber pots. The drainage system is ill-maintained with open manholes, which carry risks for people living in that area.

Lack of cleanliness and stagnant water in Bhalswa breeds bacteria and spreads disease
Many children work as rag pickers helping their families to earn a meager sum of Rs.100/$1.5/£1 a day, which can barely provide a family of 4 with 1 meal a day.  Employment opportunities in Bhalswa are limited and most men are involved in manual, daily wage labour at the construction sites and nearby wholesale vegetable market. Women in this community support their families by working as domestic maids in nearby houses. 

Pardeep’s mother is a homemaker, and his father is a daily-wage earner who just about manages to make ends meet.

In 2010, when Magic Bus first set up a programme in J.J. Colony, Training and Monitoring Officer (TMO) Santosh Gupta noticed Pardeep, who came across as bright, positive and eager to make a difference to his community. He stood apart from other young boys in Bhalswa who tend to have little direction or guidance in life, and often fall into the trap of drug addiction and substance abuse.

Santosh asked him if he wanted to join Magic Bus as a Community Youth Leader (CYL). Excited at the opportunity to bring about change, Pardeep accepted. In October 2010, he completed his CYL training and started conducting Sport for Development (S4D) sessions for younger children in his community.

A young girl on the Magic Bus programme in Bhalswa, who also helps her family pick rags for a living. Pardeep works to educate and empower such young girls through the Magic Bus curriculum.
(Photo: Heena Patel)
Pardeep enjoyed his work, and the fact that children and parents in his community started to look up to him. However, after a short phase of excellence as a Youth Leader, Pardeep’s enthusiasm and energy levels dropped. Over time, the situation became worse. Local youth had to request him to be prompt and active at sessions, but he retaliated, got angry and often argued with them. He also stopped communicating with his CYL co-workers.

When Santosh, his Training and Monitoring Officer (TMO) asked him why he was distracted, he would get irritable. Pardeep’s behaviour at home changed too. Pardeep’s friends and parents also tried approaching him about his changed attitude, but he said nothing. Soon, Pardeep stopped relating to the children in his sessions, and the programme altogether.

As a way to address the situation, he was asked to take part in a Community Youth Leader Refresher Training programme. Santosh thought this might help Pardeep relate to his goals. During the training, Community Youth Leaders were encouraged to share any experiences they had whilst conducting Sport for Development sessions, advocating for children’s rights with parents, and negotiating with the community for support. They also talked about life in general—both on and off the field.

During his counselling session at this refresher training, Pardeep admitted that he was facing a lot of pressure at home: “I will be finishing my degree this year. My parents keep reminding me that I must get a job, but there seems to be no opportunities out there for me.”

He was told about Connect, Magic Bus’ Livelihood Programme, where youth are trained to become job-ready. Through this intervention, Pardeep was able to improve his spoken English, IT and soft skills, and develop interview and job-readiness skills.

On completing the course, Pardeep was offered a job at the Government’s Income Tax Department in New Delhi at a salary of INR 8,000 (80 GBP/$100) per month. To supplement his income, Pardeep also started to run extra-curricular tuition classes for children enrolled on the Magic Bus programme.

As an incentive for CYLs to share and improve their communication skills, Magic Bus has a peer-sharing, feedback and recognition process. As a part of this process, Pardeep was named ‘CYL of the month’. At this point he realised he played a significant role in helping to build a brighter future for his community. With renewed enthusiasm, he started conducting Magic Bus sessions for children in his community once again.

Magic Bus session in progress, Bhalswa
Today, Pardeep is a changed young adult. He is looked up to as a smart, understanding, caring and responsible person, and someone who has the potential to make a significant difference in his own life as well as his community, and his family.

He is on track to graduate from University with a Bachelor’s degree, and is still employed by the Income Tax Department, a job which he takes seriously and enjoys very much. During his free time, Pardeep continues his commitment as a volunteer Community Youth Leader with Magic Bus, delivering vital life-changing lessons to children in his community, coaching them to complete their education and build a stable livelihood - empowering them to break out of poverty.

Pardeep reflects on his experience, “Magic Bus has been my best friend. An educated person is respected and better able to make changes in his/her own life and the lives of others. I have learnt this through the programme. It is important to make sure children grow up to be responsible and independent citizens."