Create 4000 high school graduates in India

 
$6,792
$93,208
Raised
Remaining
Jun 7, 2013

Incredible Story of Empowerment - Parvati Pujari

Parvati with the prizes she has won over the years
Parvati with the prizes she has won over the years

"I, Parvati Pujari, am a National Junior Trainer with Magic Bus in Mumbai. My struggle to reach where I am today is a story worth sharing."

I was born on 16th August 1990 at Bhabha Hospital in Mumbai. This was a first for my mother – her three first children, my elder sisters, had all been born in the slums she lived in at the time. I was the first one to be born in a hospital.  My father worked on a construction site as a mason, and my mother looked after me and my six siblings. We didn’t have a home to call our own. Mostly we moved from slum to slum near the different construction sites where my father would be employed. After my youngest sister was born, we were nine members in the family and it was getting impossible for us to survive on just one income. So my mother also started working for a living. During that time my father was a construction labourer in a huge upcoming complex named Phoenix Mills in Lower Parel. My eldest sister never went to school, she was in charge while my parents worked. 

My parents did not really think education was important, not when getting the next meal was of utmost priority, so none of my elder sisters went to school. A small NGO named Sunbeam taught me basics like alphabets and numbers in Hindi. We loved the teachers there because unlike at school, these volunteer teachers paid a lot of personal attention to each child and ensured that their concepts were clear. My curiosity and enthusiasm made me continue attending the classes. My younger sisters used to tag along too.  My eldest sister was married off at an early age of 12. If only she had been educated or received proper guidance as I did later in my life, she could have been saved from child marriage.

One day, Sunbeam took us on a three-day excursion organised by an NGO called Magic Bus. It was a unique experience for me – I had never been on a picnic before. Those three days I still remember as absolute magic playing and learning with friends in a safe environment. It was here that I understood the meaning of bonding, of what it means to have friends.  Later, Sunbeam helped me get an admission in the Lower Parel Municipal School where I completed my 3rd and 4th grades. I realised I could be an athlete when I received my first prize money of Rs. 21 ($0.50) in the annual sports day held in the school.
I was 9 years old when I started attending the Magic Bus weekly sessions, on Wednesdays. The sessions at Magic Bus made me relive the magic of the three-day excursion – we were all playing, learning, sharing and caring. Over the years, we learnt complex things like communication skills and teamwork, and also simple things like hand-washing, which keeps germs away.  Because of my skills I was given specialised training. I was just 10 then. I used to travel alone from lower Parel to the park in buses. This training helped me enhance my skills in sports later. By then I was also becoming an avid footballer.

When I was in 9th grade, my parents refused to let me pursue my studies any further. They felt it was my age to be married. My elder sisters had been married at the age of 12, 13 and 17 respectively. After marriage all three of them settled in different villages. I did not want to end up like them, bound to the home in a village, so I decided to fight for what I believed in. My father complained of the burden that my education had caused him; he said because of the expenditure on my education, he did not have enough money to feed my younger sisters. After a whole two months of resistance, my parents let me continue my education.
I finished my 10th grade and my family began to pressurize me for marriage again. My mentors from Magic Bus spoke to my parents and offered me the job with Magic Bus. Magic Bus gave me a fellowship and paid me a stipend of Rs. 2500 ($50.00) per month. I was 15 and I was thrilled beyond belief. I used my income to pay for my college tuition and support my family. I worked from 9 am to 5 pm and enrolled myself in a junior night college where I completed my 12th grade.  I had done all my schooling in a Hindi medium school so when I joined college, it was a big challenge for me to cope with the English-language classes. Most of my friends would attend coaching classes but I did not have any time as I was working during the day. 

I received my board results while I was at a refresher training camp with Magic Bus. I had managed to score a 59% in my Boards and I was satisfied. My parents were proud of me. By the time I came back from the camp, the admissions in all the colleges were closed. I decided to test my luck and visited Siddharth College where I got admission on the basis of sports quota for a Bachelors degree in Commerce. During the same time, I got selected as a National level Rugby player.
Also, I started playing football for various clubs like Magic Bus Football Club and Body Line Club. I stood first in an essay writing competition held by Laadli, an organisation that worked for the welfare of women. While I was in my second year of under graduation, I was awarded with the “Active Woman in Sports” award with prize money of Rs. 15,000 ($300.00) from my college. Magic Bus promoted me to the Training and Accreditation team. In my 3 years of college, not once has the championship cup gone to any other college in inter-collegiate sports tournaments.
It was during this time that I made my first trip abroad to London with Matthew Sir, the founder of Magic Bus for a fundraising program. It was a memorable experience, telling everyone how I had missed the life of a poverty-stricken woman by a whisper, and how their support can make sure girls like me don’t grow up to be uneducated mothers. I also got the opportunity to attend the Julie Foudy Leadership program for football training during the same time.
Right now, I've just gotten the news that I passed my results and am officially a college graduate.  I am considering doing a sports management degree . My parents are still coaxing me to get married while I work relentlessly to fulfill my goals. For me, accepting responsibility for my life, knowing it is only me who can get me where I want to be has helped overcome my challenges."
Parvati on the training field
Parvati on the training field
With with Indian celebrity Karan Johar
With with Indian celebrity Karan Johar

Links:

Mar 6, 2013

Project Funding Transition!

Magic Bus Delhi Program
Magic Bus Delhi Program

Hello Friends,

Thanks for all your support over the past 10 months.  Things are moving along at Magic Bus and we're proud to report we're working on a number of really game changing projects.  We just finished up a week in Portland at Nike as part of a consortium of thought leaders in the space of physical activity.  The report can be found at www.designedtomove.org, and if you browse the case study section, you'll see a spotlight on Magic Bus!

Closer to the programs, we're proud to say that 44% of the 230,000 children in the program are girls today and 98% of girls of adolescent age are attending secondary school regularly, more than double the national average of 46%.  We now have position papers out on our theory of change and how it leads to measurable impacts in the areas of health, gender equality, education, and livelhoods.  The goal now is clear - help as many children own the ideas that will help them escape poverty.

To this end, we're happy to announce that this project on GlobalGiving is now transitioning to from the girls' exchange program to our core program that impacts more than 100,000 girls on a daily basis.

The focus of this project is to ensure that 4000 girls in India between the ages of 13-16 make it TO and THROUGH secondary school, which will lead to an education, and more importantly, a life free of early marraige and pregnancy.  

It will take an average of only $25/year to enroll and ensure a girl in Magic Bus stays in school - how sure are we???  98% sure!!!

Please do all you can to help us and these girls reach their goals!  Donate, spread the word, link us to your social media, reach out to get more info on how you can talk to your school, college, or workplace to see how they'd like to get involved through a number of ways!

Let's get this done together!  Wishing you all a very prosperous 2013!

Dec 6, 2012

Project Update and Happy Holidays!

espnW Summit - ImageThink
espnW Summit - ImageThink

Happy Holiday season to everyone!  We at Magic Bus wanted to give everyone an end of year update on the Magic Bus Girls' Soccer Team and some of the great things that have come out of this summer's trip from this side.  

First off, some great news for Prajakta Tambadkar!  Last month, she was selected to be part of the 2012 Maharashtra State U19 Girls' Soccer Team!  She will spend the next year competing at national tournaments representing her home state.  She gives thanks not only to Magic Bus, but to the entire Julie Foudy Academy Team for helping her hone her skills on the field over the past two summers, the second of which was made possible by supporters like you.

Also, in the past few months, Julie Foudy has really gone to bat for Magic Bus by recommending us to speak at the espnW Summit in Tucson in early October.  We took part in a Global Perspectives for Women in Sports panel and you can catch the entire 45 min in the attached link below.  Some major discussions have come out of that weekend and some really exciting talks about what the exchange program may look like in 2013 and beyond!  Two exchange anyone?  :-)

Finally, we'd like to thank you all for your contributions this year through GlobalGiving.  It's been a tough year for so many, which makes your donations that much more meaningful. Thank you for giving these girls a way to be inspirsed and take that energy back home to their families and communities. A reminder that the thank you letters you recieved should serve as your tax-credit receipt for the 2012 tax year.

If you or someone you know is looking for an end-of-year cause to donate before the year ends, we kindly request you consider Magic Bus once again!  

Thanks for your continued support.

Brooklyn Bridge - 2012
Brooklyn Bridge - 2012

Links:

Sep 7, 2012

New Video from the Summer Trip!

Hello Dear Friends,

It's a been a wonderful summer and lots going on with the girls on the Mumbai Team.  Thanks to your help, the girls were able to make it to the US this year.  And one girl from last year, Gulafsha Ansari, was able to attend the London Olympics, through a program sponsored by McDonald's via the JFSLA.  Attached, you'll find a blog by Gulafsha on the Huffington Post from the day she took off from India.

While the Sheetal, Prajakta, Sangeeta, Nagma, and Savita were here in the NYC area in June, we were able to document an afternoon of their trip...listen to them, in the own words...I hope you enjoy!

Link is attached!

Links:

Jul 6, 2012

Project Report from Magic Bus Girls USA visit

Landing in the USA in Houston!
Landing in the USA in Houston!

Dear Friends and Supporters,

In a whirlwind, 12 days have come and gone.  The Magic Bus Girls Football Team spent 12 days here but showed immense progress from where they were just one year ago in their interactions with with US girls.  They also, once again, were able to inspire countless Americans with their courage and perseverance to achieve their goals of overcoming society's contstraints and defining their own destinies. 

Due to some last minute visa processing issues, two members of the team (one player and one coach) were left behind, making the entire travel roster 6 people.  The chaperone was Mini Sanyal, Sr Manager from our Bangalore Office and 5 girls making the return trip from last year - Nagma, Sheetal, Prajakta, Savita, and Sangeeta.  

The team spent 2 full days in Houston and did some sightseeing by going to the Johnson Space Center and then visiting the beaches of Galveston.  They were also able to attend a Father's Day program at India House, hosted by the Indian Senior Citizens Association of Houston.  Here, a very gracious and impromptu gesture was made by sending a box around the room and donating $750 to Magic Bus.  Very unexpected and touching!  The stay in Houston was capped off by a afternoon picnic with some Magic Bus supporters from Houston.

The next day took the team directly to the Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ where Julie Foudy, her amazing staff of 15 coaches and administrators and 100+ high school girls from the East Coast were waiting for Magic Bus to arrive!  Upon arrival, you could see and feel the energy levels of the 5 girls rise.  As returning campers, they were asked to do more from a leadership angle than last year.  Each of them was given an American roommate from the outset and was asked to really focus on connecting with other campers.  There was a marked improvement in all aspects compared to the 2011 visit.  

The real impact of a year of reflection was apparent in the community project development.  Last year, the girls admirably shared the struggled of their home communities and talked about the water mafias in the slums, child marriage, the lack of opportunity for girls, and addition of young boys.  This year, they really focused early on in the week of making sure their projects this year were measurable and the goals attainable.  The 5 projects this year range from cleanliness drives, to helping smaller NGOs in Mumbai raise funds for equipment and books.  The next project update will provide status reports on those projects.

After another moving week at the Academy, sharing stories and learning about one another, the girls spend 3 days in NYC soaking up Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, while also fitting in some swimming, shopping, and the EuroCup Final between Spain and Italy.  For what it's worth, all 5 of them correctly predicted the Spaniards taking home the Cup!

The girls and Mini have safely returned to Mumbai, ready to share their experiences with their families, get started on their projects, and take some of these new leadership ideas to their colleges (all 5 are starting junior college or college this month!).  

Please visit the links below to see pictures from the visit!!!

Thank you for making this possible and helping lay down the foundation for a wonderful partnership of two non-profits - Magic Bus and the Julie Foudy Foundation - there are bigger plans in store for the coming years!  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your summer and look for a report in the coming months with updates on the 5 community projects.

Best Regards,

Rahul Brahmbhatt

General Manager - Magic Bus USA

Julie Foudy and her amazing staff with the team!
Julie Foudy and her amazing staff with the team!
In the midst of an emotional Skype call back home
In the midst of an emotional Skype call back home
Saying their Thank Yous at the closing ceremonies
Saying their Thank Yous at the closing ceremonies
Scrimmage with Gotham Girls FC!
Scrimmage with Gotham Girls FC!
Dollar Store in NYC!
Dollar Store in NYC!

Links:

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

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Organization

MAGIC BUS USA

Palo Alto, CA, United States
http://www.magicbususa.org

Project Leader

Rahul Brahmbhatt

Palo Alto, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Create 4000 high school graduates in India