Four hundred million people in India have to manage on less than CHF 1.15 a day. Despite years of economic growth, this number is increasing and lack of access to education and opportunity continue to be the main causes of poverty. With this in mind, Magic Bus develops programmes that aim to reach as many children, youth, and communities as possible and to break the poverty cycle. 8,000 local youth leaders meet weekly with children and youth living in poverty to deal with real-life situations and problems through sporting activities and play. The focus is on education, health, gender, and livelihood. We are on an ambitious mission to reach 1,000,000 children in our programs every week by 2015.
Magic Bus has many measured impacts. Here are some highlights:
- 93% of our children believe that being in school is their right and go to school regularly.
- 100% of Magic Bus children believe they need to be clean to maintain good health.
- 100% believe it is important to boil/filter drinking water.
- 40% of children in our Programme are girls.
- 89% of Magic Bus children believe women can be as good leaders as men.
- 26% of young adults who complete this programme have done vocational skills training.
- 89% are continuing with their education.
Magic Bus works to empower children, youth and communities to engage in the areas of education, health, gender, leadership and livelihood to enable them to break the poverty cycle using an institution that is local and relevant to their immediate need of finding employment. Magic Bus works almost exclusively with children and youth from age 8 to age 18 across India that come from the most disadvantaged situations. Most children come from one of the following backgrounds: living on the street, living in extreme poverty in an urban slum, living in an orphanage or shelter, or living in a rural area in extreme poverty. We simultaneously work in partnership with the community, conducting rallies, group discussions and parents’meetings.
We try to promote indigenous funding strategies so that within a period of time each of Magic Bus’ local operations can support themselves. Broadly we fundraise in three areas; events, corporate partnerships, social enterprise, institutional and individual donations. We are also in the process of creating a substantial revenue arm, the Magic Bus Enterprise, which will exclusively contribute to the work of the charity.
In Indian schools, the primary focus is on a child’s academics. Breaking gender biases, stereotypes about sex and sexuality, issues around physical and sexual abuse, health & hygiene and active citizenship are often ignored. Children frequently lack basic skills such as self-awareness, managing emotions and relating to others. These vulnerable children are at risk of becoming involved in drugs, gangs and other negative behavior. The Magic Bus curriculum is focused on addressing these types of issues. All learning is experiential, taking place through the medium of sporting activities and play. Magic Bus uses community leaders to deliver our programming on the ground. Each community leader is taken through rigorous training prior to working with our children. Community leaders work with Magic Bus on a volunteer basis and in order to encourage them, we offer them access to our Connect Programme. This improves their leadership and employability skills and helps them to access vocational training and the job market.
Magic Bus believes that given the scale of poverty in India, it is necessary to try and offer a quality programme to as many children and youth as possible. Thus, we follow two basic principles:
- First, that working with the State is essential. We work on major systemic changes through large government programmes in partnership with State and National programmes
- Second, we believe change has to come from and by the community. Thus our work creates and engages local volunteers to take ownership of, and drive change for their own communities.
Magic Bus employs a very lean management structure that trains and supervises the young men and women to volunteer working with the children from their own community. As a result the total annual cost for one child participating in 40 Magic Bus sessions is 21 CHF only.
Source of funding
We are funded through a number of different grants from foundations and corporates. Among our strategic partners are the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, BMW, Premier League and Nike. Our international offices in the US/UK/Germany/Singapore also contribute to the funding of Magic Bus programmes in India.