Thursday, July 17

Magic Bus' Deepika Rana gets Gold International Award for Young People

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller

Meet Deepika, our International Award for Young People (IAYP) Gold Awardee for her selfless services to society.
Deepika receiving the award
Deepika is 23 years old and lives with her 3 elder brothers and parents in New Delhi, India. She has graduated from Delhi University Khasa College and is working as an Assistant Manager for the State's Training programme at Magic Bus India Foundation. Her role involves assisting with the training of Magic Bus' field staff who deliver its programme in the field. Prior to this recent promotion Deepika was working as a Magic Bus Training and Monitoring Officer.

Deepika has had an interest in sport from her early childhood and this interest grew into sports excellence in the game of hockey. She has been participating in National School Games Championships and State University Championships; and has won trophies and medals through her representations.

The turning point was on 26th Jan 2008 when she was attending her college in the city of Delhi. She had just been asked for an interview by a local newspaper (NDP) for an article which was titled 'UPCOMING CHAMPIONS IN DELHI UNIVERSITY, CHAK DE GENERATION'. The article highlighted the achievements of Deepika and her college hockey team mates and recognised them for their 'wonderful achievements', and as 'emerging stars of the campus'. She remembered herself thinking that what had happened to her was the best thing in the world!

The love for the game of hockey was in her. She was attracted to hockey for its good reputation - as a clean and healthy sport, and if played in the right spirit with the right guidance then it could contribute to positive social integration.

Her dream was to develop hockey in India, especially at the grassroots level so that the country could be represented on a global level by both men and women. To achieve this, she feels that the sport needs appropriate exposure; a new coaching philosophy; more playing spaces and job opportunities for hockey players in India. She says “The game of hockey should always be like the shoes of children. Perfectly tailored and adapted to them."

More about The International Award for Young People 

The IAYP is divided into 5 sections:

To learn how to provide a useful service to others

Deepika has worked extensively with underprivileged children and youth in India through Magic Bus, and helped them to progress with their education and gain employment. She has also referred youth she has worked with for jobs and vocational courses. She is a strong role model for her younger peers.

To encourage a spirit of adventure and discovery

Deepika has participated in adventure activities such as climbing, rappelling, trekking in a remote part of Mahrashtra.

To improve on your skills: either a new skill or an existing one

Deepika has developed basic IT skills.

To encourage and participate in physical recreation and improvement of performance

Deepika has played hockey at a competitive level; she has competed in the State Women's Championship, represented Delhi University at Inter-University tournaments, taken part in the Delhi Soft Hockey Championship and has participated in the National Games three times at Secondary School level.

To broaden one's experience through interaction with others in an unfamiliar residential setting with unfamiliar people through a purposeful activity.

Deepika has imparted sports for development and youth development training to peer educators at Plan India in Jharkhand.

To qualify for a IAYP Award one needs to complete the requirements of 4 different sections which are measured in terms of Progress, Proficiency and Standard of effort. Participants also have to maintain an IAYP record book in which they have to highlight all their work in each section, qualified by an authorised signatory. For the Gold category, 18 months worth of entries are required for all sections. Deepika completed all five sections and won the IAYP Gold Award.

Our heartiest congratulations to Deepika and wish her the best for the future!

Friday, May 30

Mentoring India's Next Generation to Move Out of Poverty

Pratik Kumar is the CEO of Magic Bus, a TOMS Giving Partner distributing new, locally produced 
shoes to children in need in India. At TOMS, we’re proud to support partners like Magic Bus and their incredible programming, where shoes are just a small part of a much larger development program. We’ve invited Pratik to share some stories from the field in honor of One Day Without Shoes. Take it away, Pratik…

In just over a decade, 250 million youth will enter the Indian workforce. That’s the equivalent of the entire working population of the United States , all adding to India’s current labor pool by 2030 and all looking for employment.

When we started Magic Bus in 1999 in Mumbai, we started with one question: are these young people job-ready? Only 20 percent of Indian youth finish high school , with many dropping out because the basics are out of reach: food, supplies and clothes, including shoes. We all know that without education, it’s very tough for the poor to move out of poverty.

A very large number are extremely poor: 33 percent of Indians earn just $1.25 per day. Our solution to make them job-ready was simple, to work from within and change their behavior, arming them with an attitude that is set for success. Behavior change does not happen overnight, though, so we invest early and for the long-term.

To make this happen, we employ the Magic Bus “Childhood to Livelihood” model, bringing in partners whose core competencies fill a dire need in the lives of these marginalized children and youth on their 10-year journey with Magic Bus.

Consider shoes. In India, shoes are a clear marker of where you are on the economic ladder. At the bottom of the pyramid, chances are you are only able to afford second-hand flip-flops. Walking to school, walking to explore, walking to playgrounds — all of these basic activities become a challenge for children without shoes.

This is where the TOMS and Magic Bus story begins. We work with 250,000 children, and our strategic partnership with TOMS enables these children to have the one basic article of clothing that literally takes them places. The TOMS Shoes fill a crucial programmatic gap, giving children the safety, dignity and confidence to step out of the home and participate in the Magic Bus engagement model.

This holistic approach works to empowering individuals and entire communities to make better
decisions in the areas of education, health and hygiene practices, gender equity, leadership and
livelihoods. A shining example of that empowerment is Gulafsha Ansari who went from
being a school dropout to joining Magic Bus and returning to school and being a youth leader in
her community. In 2012, she told her story as a Huffington Post blogger,

Others, like Shanti from Hyderabad Old City, are taking their first steps. Shanti wears her TOMS
Shoes to school and whenever she steps out of her modest home in one of India’s largest slums. Her
Magic Bus journey began when she was just 10 years old and already a school dropout. We created local role models who encouraged her to join the program. She was attracted to our dynamic activity-based curriculum, which utilizes sport and play as the engagement catalyst. These sessions are designed to recreate real-life situations and challenges that Shanti can relate to.

Off the field, Magic Bus worked directly with Shanti’s parents and community to support them in
building a child-friendly ecosystem that takes care of every basic need, from health and hygiene to leadership and livelihood. TOMS will continue to give Shanti a pair of shoes every year, supporting her as she continues to battle the next challenges in her life, primarily fending off child marriage and completing her education.

The best part is that all of the shoes that Magic Bus receives from TOMS are locally manufactured
in India, continuing the cycle of community-centered development.

Over the last 15 years, Magic Bus’ unique ability to localize programming and help every child
reach his or her full potential has garnered the support of many strategic partners just like TOMS. Just last month, Magic Bus was proud to win the Laureus Sport for Good Award, bringing the award to India for the first time in history.

The task ahead remains difficult. The impact of a youth bulge in the population can be either beneficial or harmful, depending on how prepared they are and how we as a society respond. If we succeed, a larger number of educated, healthy young people will enter the workforce and will deliver major economic benefits to themselves and society as a whole. Strategic partners like TOMS help us break down our goal into achievable targets, which in Shanti’s case, means helping her go to school and reach her Magic Bus sessions
every day.

This year, we’ll be joining TOMS on One Day Without Shoes – the company’s annual day to raise
global awareness for children’s health and education. Like TOMS, we believe that with the complex issues surrounding poverty, there is not one solution, but many working together. We hope you’ll take off your shoes and join us.

For more information, visit

Pratik Kumar is the CEO of Magic Bus, Asia’s largest mentoring charity, working with 250,000
children and 8,000 youth mentors every week. Magic Bus USA is a 501(c)3
charity and focuses on building and developing partnerships in the USA for global program growth.

Original Article by TOMS.

Wednesday, May 28

Case story > Magic Bus Programme > Ritu Pawa, Girl, 14 years

Ritu exchanges traditional roles for girls with her friend Tanu 
from the Magic Bus Tughlakabad community.
About Ritu's family and her community
Ritu shares her small home in the slums of Tughlakabad with her 7-member family. Like all their neighbour’s homes, theirs too is a makeshift structure pulled together using plastic sheets and cement. Given the family's financial situation, that is all they can afford. Her father is working as a driver and mother works as a maid.

How did Ritu become a part of the Magic Bus programme?
Ritu was one of the community’s girls who are traditionally discouraged from going to school. Consequently, the child was mostly left to fend for herself. “At first glance itself, you could make out that Ritu was not very well taken care of. She was dirty and unkempt, one of the hundreds of girls who grow up with no future,” says Niraj Kumar from Magic Bus. “As an unschooled girl, she was fated to follow in the footsteps of her mother and become a child bride.”

When Magic Bus started sessions in the area, Ritu was among the group of children who would stand on the sidelines, watching. She soon picked up the courage to talk to the volunteer running the programme here. “I told Bhaiya that my parents will not allow it, but I wanted to be part of the group that seemed to be having so much fun together,” she recalls.

Magic Bus’ staff approached the parents and held meetings to explain that girls playing and studying is not a bad thing at all, in fact, as a child, Ritu’s right is to learn and grow as well as any boy.  Her parents eventually agreed, but on one condition: there should be separate groups for girls and boys.

What impact has the programme had on this individual young person's life, and also on the lives of other young people in that community?
One key takeaway for children in the Magic Bus programme is that girls have the same abilities as boys. This was a lesson Ritu learnt herself, as part of the Magic Bus sessions. Within as little as 2 months, she decided to call for a boys-vs.-girls match, at which she invited her parents too,” says Niraj about impact created on Ritu’s life.

Watching all children together on the ground went a long way towards breaking age-old stereotypes about divides along gender lines,” says Niraj. “Ritu explained to her family that nature had not meant for girls to be “the weaker sex” and that given a chance, she could do as well in life as any boy. Her new found confidence was visible to all, not just her parents but her entire community.”

Soon, Ritu became a regular school-goer and an avid learner. With health tips from her Magic Bus mentors, she learnt to take care of her own health and hygiene needs, including basics such as bathing, cutting nails, wearing clean clothes.

Ritu is now part of an advanced development programme at Magic Bus that teaches her English language and computer skills. She continues to be a keen footballer.

Wednesday, May 7

Inauguration of Youth Development Centres for our Karnataka programme

Our world is fraught with social, cultural, political and environmental challenges. This scenario is an opportunity for societies to transform their value systems and create a more sustainable and equitable present and future. In this context, the role of youth is of critical importance, as young people are the most important building blocks of a society: They are an important source of creativity and enthusiasm, and are drivers of social change.

Towards this, Magic Bus, through nurturing one of its impact areas – livelihood, is striving to improve disadvantaged youth’s economic and social well-being by empowering young people to identify their targets, develop themselves personally and professionally, and ultimately take up and sustain employment.

The Magic Bus programme in Mysore has around 650 Community Youth Leaders. In light of this, a youth development programme was required to help young people visualise and achieve their goals, and move into employment, training or higher education. Taking this into consideration, two Youth Development Centres were inaugurated in Mysore on March 8 and 9, 2014, in Shanthi Nagar and Haleem Nagar respectively.

MV Krishnan from Vodafone, in collaboration with Magic Bus, supported the centres with computers and furniture. Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) extended their support by engaging their trainers who will train enrolled youth in spoken English and basic computer skills. Roshan School and Milath Trust provided space for the youth development centres in the two communities.

The programme in both communities started with cultural performances by children, which included singing, a fancy dress competition, group dances, quawwali performances and skits on the importance of education.

In their speeches at the inauguration event, the guests mainly emphasized the need to empower and create a group of youth leaders who can positively explore themselves and are commit to making changes in their community. Guests also pointed out that youth need a positive and constructive environment where they can develop themselves socially and economically, and can ultimately lead successful, independent lives.

Youth Development Centre – Shanthi Nagar
The inauguration programme started with a great buzz in Roshan School, where 120 children, 80 parents, 60 youth and 20 teachers participated.

Inauguration event guests included Ayub Pasha, Corporator, and Raju Desai from Ace Foundation, and Amith, Aafaq and Chandini from Hinduja Global Solutions

At the opening of the Youth Development Centre in Haleem Nagar, around 150 children, 80 parents and 60 youth participated.

Guests at the event included Nagraj, Secretary of MESCO School, Shafi from Milath Trust, Shree Krishnan from the Vodafone Foundation who played a vital role in making it possible to open the two centres, and Kusum Mohapatra, State Head for the Magic Bus' programme in Karnataka.

Children, youth, parents, teachers and other community members came forward and supported the inauguration of both the youth development centres. The event was solely supported by the communities.

Thank you to all that made this happen!

To find out more about Magic Bus and how you can help us to make changes in communities like these, visit our website at

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."