Magic Bus engages children and youth from slums using the medium of sports to impart knowledge in health, education, gender, and leadership. It supports participants after their completion of the program until they are connected to livelihood and vocational opportunities.
It delivers a sports-based life skills program for children in the age group of 8-18 years who come from deprived background. Magic Bus recruits local youth volunteers above 17 years of age and trains them in delivering the program to the children. These youth conduct weekly sessions for a period of three years and strive to bring about behavioral changes. To garner the support of the community, meetings with parents are organized in addition to rallies, cleanliness drives, and sporting events.
Magic Bus delivers the program through a 120-hour curriculum with numerous games and activities to make it attractive for the children. The children are encouraged and supported to relate the games to their real life situations and challenges. The engagement renders the participants more responsible and employable, facilitating their transition to livelihoods and employment. For those completing the program, a youth development platform (called Connect) is provided through which the youth are trained in leadership and employability skills. They are also provided with support in developing decision-making skills.
Under each state head, District Program Managers (DPM) and Training & Monitoring Officers (TMO) oversee the programs. While the DPMs are in charge of day to day activities, TMOs train the youth volunteers on the field. Each youth volunteer is in charge of a group of 25 children.
Magic Bus utilizes existing structures within communities such as NGO’s, local schools, and Panchayats. As a result of the program, over 250,000 children and youth today have access to better education, improved health situations, better understanding of gender sensitive issues, and are working towards strong livelihood opportunities as adults.
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CEI approaches in actionStudent supportPolicy & AnalysisSchool supportLearning through Play21st century skills (soft skills)Entrepreneurship skillsVocational/technical skillsSportsOther
Model details1999Not-for-profitComprehensive curriculum21st century skills (soft skills)Entrepreneurship skillsVocational/technical skillsSportsOtherA structured and researched 120 -hour curriculum spread across three years covering sessions on education, gender, health, leadership, socio-emotional learning, and Right to Play. ActiveLong-term projectFree service or product293,35556%44%
Magic Bus identifies neighborhoods to work in based on the area’s poverty and child development indicators. An area is seen as ideal for a Magic Bus intervention if it displays any or all of the following characteristics:
- The majority of people in the area live below the poverty line
- The area lacks basic facilities including schools, access roads, medical facilities
- The area has an unhygienic environment without access to sanitation and clean drinking water
Matthew Spacie, Founder and Executive Chairman of Magic Bus, came to India as CEO of Cox and Kings. After founding the organization in 1999, he started working full-time at Magic Bus in 2002 and received the MBE and Ashoka Fellowship. Starting with a single program in a Mumbai slum in 1999, Magic Bus now has over 20 offices across India. Magic Bus has 700 staff members out of which 584 are directly involved in delivering the program. In 2011-12, Magic Bus enrolled 200,000 children at Rs 1200 per child. Magic Bus currently runs programs in 12 states reaching out to a total of 235,658 children as of June 2013. The Magic Bus program content is being integrated into the Indian government curriculum. Programs under Magic Bus tend to be 50% financially self-sustaining within 5 years of each new operation. The program has increased enrollment and retention in school. 98% of Magic Bus children are enrolled in secondary school. Additionally health behaviors have improved. An impact study conducted by Praxis shows how 94% of parents report that their children observe food related hygiene.
Magic Bus is on course to have 1 million children enrolled in the program by 2015. Magic Bus has built national and international strategic partnerships and raises funds actively within India. Each of their local offices is required to raise 50% of their budget locally within 5 years of operation. It is in the process of creating a substantial revenue arm, the Magic Bus Enterprise, which will contribute financially to the work of the organization. In order to be able to reach 1 million children in the next three years, Magic Bus is scaling up and requires Rs 1,506 million to do so. Magic Bus will enhance its sustainability with the support of the Magic Bus Enterprise. The projected funding sources for 2015 are: 45% from Indian offices, 35% from international offices, and 20% from Magic Bus Enterprise.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
Magic Bus measures quality and impact through measuring levels of empowerment. At Magic Bus, empowerment is understood as enabling a child, young person, or community with the awareness, knowledge and self-belief to make effective choices and translate them into actions. An empowered person or community is more likely to seek their rights as promised by the State, and demand an equitable distribution of state resources among its citizen.
Magic Bus uses a measurement tool called the Degree of Empowerment, which measures how a child progresses in terms of his or her personal situation, as a result of a Magic Bus intervention. The quality of their programs is monitored and calibrated by a group of qualified professionals, ranging from training and monitoring officers to program heads.Standardized assessment performanceInternal assessment performanceUser satisfactionGraduation or promotion ratesEmployment ratesStudent attendanceStudent retentionIncreased enrollmentYes