In the late 1990s, a young Englishman named Matthew Spacie landed in Mumbai, India to run India’s largest travel agency, Cox and Kings. Immediately, he was struck by the dichotomy of rich and poor living beside one another. Matthew played rugby in the evenings and frequently noticed a group of boys living at the bus stop across the street, intently focused on watching Matthew and his team practice. One day, he called them over to hop the fence and join in on the game. These games quickly became routine and over the next few months Matthew became their coach – in rugby and in life.
The effect on the boys was remarkable. Being part of a team gave them a sense of worth and inspired them to aim higher. They began to make positive changes in their lives because of Matthew and how he had become a mentor to them. Matthew saw the dramatic influence he had in their lives as a mentor and encouraged the boys to become mentors to younger children in their community.
On a Saturday in 1999, Matthew and these boys boarded a bus and drove into one of Mumbai’s harshest slums. Approximately 50 marginalized children got on and joined them on a wonderful weekend away from the harshness of life in the slums. These children experienced freedom and creativity and returned home, raving about the “Magic Bus.”
Today, the Magic Bus program has evolved into one of the world’s highest-impact, low-cost scalable programs – but the key principles remain the same from the first day – mentoring and utilizing sports as a catalyst for education.
Magic Bus operates independent, registered charities in the USA, UK, India, Germany, and Singapore and operates programs in India, Singapore, and the UK. We work with more than 350,000 children in our programs weekly.
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