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