This charity's approach to tackling poverty is game-changing.
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TOMS One for One

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:


GIFs via Magic Bus USA/YouTube.

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

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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