For most of us learning means sitting in classrooms and cramming formulas, theories or maybe (if I stretch it) reading and discussing with the teachers. With the current structure of dispersal of education, the outdoors seem to be long-forgotten!
Mathew Spacie understood the importance of outdoors in learning. Once whilst practicing rugby with friends he met some boys from the slum in Fashion Street in South Mumbai and invited them to join his group. Within 6 months a rugby team was formed and within a year the team started competing in national tournaments.
It soon became clear to him that taking a child away from the squalor of his/her immediate environment to a mountain or a sports pitch meant creating a learning environment unparalleled in the child’s life. It was the thought of a ‘vehicle’ picking children up and taking them on a fantastic journey that gave birth to the name Magic Bus. For the children, the journey represented a new adventure to somewhere that was safe and packed with a lot of fun.
The core principle of Magic Bus is Sports For Development. India has the youngest population in the world and it is the youth who are critical for the development of communities. Sport is something that is close to young peoples’ hearts and through its inherent attributes of active participation, energy, empowerment and social inclusion it provides an ideal platform for working with youth and helping them recognize their power and potential.
Magic Bus is working as a technical advisory to a UNICEF program along with the UK sport and Indian ministry for Youth Affairs and Sport to take sport for development to communities across India in a project known as ‘ International Inspiration’.
Magic Bus also works with communities like Dharavi and slums in Mankhurd and Colaba, where the project is headed by two local community coordinators. These coordinators are primarily responsible for sensitizing the community about sport-for-development and Magic Bus, bringing the children to sessions and further mobilizing community support.
The organization is working with NGOs in Mumbai who are child focused, supporting them to achieve their -objectives with children by integrating those objectives into the sports-for development framework. Magic Bus is also working with juvenile delinquents providing them the much needed space to express themselves and channelize their energies into more creative pursuits.
In Partnership with UNICEF , Magic Bus is implementation a training for trainers programme where they train primary education teachers in Sports for development.
Interested to know more about Magic Bus? Visit their website at http://www.magicbusindia.org/.
There is just so much happening out there!
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