Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Case Study: All aboard the Magic Bus

Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Case Study: All aboard the Magic Bus

Article excerpt

The Case is about a not-for-profit organization that works with children in some of the most marginalized and at-risk communities in India. It uses the medium of sport to enhance their basic life skills and provide empowerment so that they can take charge of their lives and transform their circumstances. The case highlights the challenges encountered by Magic Bus in terms of constant dropouts of girls from the graduation program in Mumbai's Dharavi project. This dropout is primarily seen in the elder age groups, viz., between 12 to 16 years. The case also looks at the various reasons for these dropouts, as narrated by the parents of the children as well as the community workers of the organization. The case draw attention to the various socio-cultural stereotypes related to the female gender, the scope of learning and development of children through sports and social interaction and developing a positive attitude of community towards girls' education through participation in sports.

DECEMBER 5, 2010, 3.00 PM, MAGIC BUS OFFICE

"We need to increase the number of girls in our program. This is imperative to our organization and we can't compromise on this" said Sohail Khan1, the program manager of the Magic bus voyagers project, in a meeting with his team and the community coordinators.

The meeting was called on an urgent basis to address the constantly falling number of girls in the Dharavi project of the Magic bus graduation program in Mumbai. "The children do not have time to play due to studies, tuitions and household chores", said Laxmi, the community coordinator working in Dharavi. She further said, "the parents are not willing to send them to the sessions and whenever we go to pick up the girls, they give reasons like exams, sickness, tuitions, etc.", to which Shanti, another community coordinator, added, "the parents want the girls to learn household chores and therefore, do not allow them to go out of the house. They say that the girls need to learn these chores as they will get married and should uphold the family name in their in-laws house. And in such a situation, how they handle their house would count and not how good they are at football."

Laxmi claimed that, "Another major problem is that, the parents do not like the mixing of teenage boys and girls. There is a belief that as soon as the girls hit puberty, they are perceived to be young women and should be safeguarded from the outsiders. A number of parents have had to face ridicule from their neighbors about how their girls, even after becoming young women, continue to wear shorts and play with the boys on the ground. It's a big prestige issue for them, as they feel no one would accept their daughters hand in marriage in the future."

INTRODUCTION

"Empowering children and youth with positive experiences to discover and develop through sport." This is the mission of Magic bus and is articulated in its work through the various programs across India. The city of Mumbai, Delhi, Chandrapur and Medak are the places where Magic bus works with marginalized children. Magic bus is a notfor-profit organization that works with children in some of the most marginalized and at-risk communities in India. It uses the medium of sport to enhance their basic life skills and provide empowerment so that they can take charge of their lives and transform their circumstances. Since its inception Magic bus has reached out to 140,000 children and youth and by 2012 it aims to reach out to over 600,000 at the national level2 (Refer to Exhibit 2 and Table 1 for further details).

HISTORY OF MAGIC BUS

Magic bus was founded by Mr. Matthew Spacie in the year 1999 in Mumbai. The journey of the organization began, while practicing Rugby in the Bombay Gymkhana, spotted a few young boys looking at the game from outside the railings of the club. These boys used to work at the fashion street in Mumbai and belonged to a nearby slum. Matthew understood their curiosity about the game and invited them to play along with him. …

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