According to the World Bank, in 2011 India was home to approximately 20% of the world population living under the poverty line. That means a staggering 180 million people live on less than $1.25 per day.
Nagma, 19, from Mumbai, was one of these people. For years she was held in her own home, abused and beaten by her parents. Yet she never relinquished her dream of living a life of purpose. When she turned 16, her parents refused to support her studies. But Magic Bus came along and gave her new hope through sport. Many Indians are conservative, believing that sports are only for men. Magic Bus gave Nagba an outlet not only to play soccer, but to feel a sense of purpose.
Magic Bus currently has over 8,000 community leaders throughout India in camps, schools, and hospitals. Using games and sports, Magic Bus hopes to empower impoverished Indians through education, health and gender rights. They use sports to teach vocational skills which many take or granted like work ethic, confidence, and emotional intelligence so that kids without support have the tools they need to navigate the workforce and find fulfilling employment.
One popular game splits campers into two teams, the “problem” group and the “community” group. The community group must work together to run past the problem group shooting soccer balls at them in order to make it to school. This teaching tool works as a metaphor to encourage kids to fight for their right to education, despite the many obstacles they face.
Nagba is not alone in her struggle for education. Millions of Indian children are left without any support or motivation to go to school, leaving them devoid of purpose or any chance of a fulfilling life. Magic Bus camps show kids love and support for their goals which they may not find elsewhere. Nagba is currently in College for a Bachelor’s degree in science.
In 2014 Magic Bus was given the Laureus Sport for Good Award, the most prestigious honor for a Sports for Development organization. They have made serious differences in over 200,000 lives across India and will reach out to one million this year.
For more stories visit their blog here: http://pilelo-ho.blogspot.com/
To donate click here: https://donate.magicbus.org/
by Mike Weinstein