Story 1: Ujwala Dongre, 24
Story 2: Sarita Gupta, 18
Ujwala's Story (Story 1):
When Magic Bus began its first rural program in 2007, Ujwala was one who attended the training as a Community Sports Coach volunteer and began running sessions with local children in her village. She was encouraged by the number of children in her program that began re-enrolling in school, and their awareness of health and hygiene. The villagers also noticed the changes and took notice of the impact she was having on the community. What they found most interesting was her passion and her approach.
She began to use some of these same approaches to helping solve the local programs at town hall meetings. When it was time for elections, a group of villages nominated her and then the unthinkable happened.
Ujwala won the election and became the village’s youngest and first-ever women leader. In her new role, Ujwala has improved hygiene and sanitation facilities in her village and has also initiated the construction of a primary school and library in the village.
Her confidence and the respect she earned as a role model as a Magic Bus volunteer coach have taken Ujwala to a position where she can improve the standard of living for everyone in the village for generations to come.
Sarita's Story (Story 2):
Sarita comes from a community in Mumbai where women are confined to household chores. Through advocacy, her mother supported her participation in Magic Bus. With Magic Bus mentors and coaches as role models, Sarita began to realize the importance in education and independence. She took it upon herself to get more girls involved by sharing the fun of Magic Bus with others in the community.
When she reached 16 and the end of the Magic Bus curriculum, she chose to enroll in the Magic Bus employability program – Connect. Through the program, she was able to get formal training in a hobby of hers – stitching and embroidery. After her training was complete, she was placed at Elaan Garments.
Sarita proudly says, “When I first arrived at the job, I was overwhelmed by the new atmosphere and big machines, but with the support of my Magic Bus mentors, I got the support I needed. I was able to remember my first week at Magic Bus when I was a girl and I was reminded that sometimes you have to face uncomfortable situations to succeed.”
Impact in Livelihood – By the Numbers