Magic Bus is a not-for-profit organisation in India that works with children living in some of the most marginalised circumstances in the world and uses sport and outdoor activities as a medium to enable them to realize their true potential and offers them experiences that help them find a purpose in life. Magic Bus’ programme helps them understand their own ability and take responsibility to change their communities in a sustainable manner. Since its inception in 2002, over 140,000 children and youth (7-21 years) have taken part in Magic Bus programmes and the organisation currently reach out to over 3,000 children per year. By 2012, they aim to reach 600000 children and youth.
The children they reach who live in pavement dwellings, slum communities, rescue homes or institutions, red light areas, tribal villages or on streets.
Magic Bus believes in what Nelson Mandela had to say “Sport has the power to change the world, the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else can… sport can create hope…it is an instrument for peace”.
The Magic Bus programme revolves around four questions:
• What is my relationship to the world?
• What can I do with my life?
• Who am I?
• How can I make it meaningful?
Engaging with these questions enables children to discover themselves.
Based on Magic Bus’ ethos and drawing from experience, their overall programme rests on five interconnected pillars crucial for any process on sport for development.
• Safe environment
• Experiential learning
• Child participation
A typical Magic Bus children’s programme consists of forty children, one camp leader, four group leaders, two technical supports, two volunteers and two NGO staff members. Camps at the centre generally last for up to three days. They have programmes that are structured for 2-years and require a minimum annual attendance of 35 days. They also have programmes that help the young people that attend these camps “connect” to relevant higher education opportunities. They place a strong focus on formal schooling and encourage higher education.