An organization called The Magic Bus is turning the fight against poverty on its head — by using games.
While living and working in Mumbai, India, Magic Bus founder Matthew Spacie realized that simply providing jobs to young people in poverty isn't enough. Without the social and mental tools necessary for employment, these young people are often unable to keep jobs once they get them.
How does Magic Bus aim to teach children these important skills? Games!
The Magic Bus uses sports and other physical activities to mentor children in impoverished communities. Each of the 40 sessions per year teaches children about education, gender, health, and key issues affecting them.
Sports are easily translated into real life lessons:
And they don't only play sports.
After a game is over, mentors talk to the kids and teens about how real-life is like the game. They might discuss obstacles that kids face in getting to school and come up with ideas on how to help those kids make it.
Not only that, but many mentors come from the communities themselves, meaning kids can have role models who share their life experiences.
According to Magic Bus, "Nearly all the youth end up pursuing higher studies and/or enrolling in our employability program."
In India, it is estimated that 423 million people will be unemployed in the next 15 years.
That's a lot.
But even if they find a job, about 60% of the young people looking for work in India didn't have the skills to actually do the jobs they applied for.
These are skills like work ethic, confidence, and emotional intelligence. When children live below the poverty line, they often miss out on these skills. While most charities focus on job placement alone, Magic Bus addresses problems that help young people not only acquire jobs, but keep them.
Magic Bus' success is staggering.
The organization reported programs in 3,500 communities in 2013, teaching approximately 200,000 children and teens every week. The charity is set to reach an incredible 4,500,000 children in 22 states in India this year.
Wouldn't it be cool to get involved with a program like this? The Magic Bus is spreading its program to other countries too, including the U.S. and the U.K. You can check out their volunteering page for info about volunteering in a number of countries.
Don't just take it from me. Listen to some awesome young ladies share their success