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Scripting change with Magic Bus


Scripting change with Magic Bus

When 23 year old Mamta opted to become Magic Bus’ community youth leader at Sultanpuri in northwest Delhi, she was aware of the odds stacked against her.

For starters, the community barely recognised her as a leader because she was a woman with a polio-affected leg. But battling against odds was nothing new to her.

At the young age of two, Mamta was diagnosed with polio which paralysed her left leg. What it couldn’t affect was her zeal for sports.

She was good at handball but did not get an opportunity to play. “Persistence pays off. I conduct handball sessions for children now whereas in school, I was never selected to be a part of any team” she reflects.

At the age of 17, she lost her father to an accident and also the hope to pursue higher education. “I was married off when I was in the eleventh standard” she laments. Mamta moved to small village in Haryana after her marriage.

I secretly filled the form for the twelfth standard examination and cleared it with a distinction”, she adds with pride. Within a year of marriage, Mamta had a son. However, due to frequent trouble with her in-laws, Mamta and her husband decided to move back to Delhi.

Shifting to Delhi was a blessing in disguise. I was introduced to Magic Bus and I enrolled myself in Delhi University’s School of Open Learning for higher studies”, she adds.

In 2013, Magic Bus began its sessions at Sultanpuri. “It was one of the most challenging spaces in Delhi. None of the families were willing to send their children, especially girls, because of the high incidence of crime and drug abuse in the locality.” remembers Jeebanjyoti, district programme officer at Magic Bus.

Did I know I could, one day, be able to convince the community to send their children? No, I didn’t. I just knew that it was important for girls to step outdoors and play. I wanted these girls to overcome the fear of the outside world”, explains Mamta.

She managed to overcome the community’s resistance – initially 10 families sent their children. Now, she leads a group of 813 children out of which 359 are girls.

In an era where public spaces are becoming hotspots for violence against women, sports seem to open up possibilities for women and girls to reclaim spaces lost to them.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


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Garvita Khybri and Joieta Roy


Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 23:00