Magic Bus has been working towards taking children and young people on a journey from Childhood to Livelihood and out of poverty. It is one of the largest poverty alleviation programmes in India, impacting 3,15,000 children and young people. Since 2014, in Mizoram, Magic Bus has been actively working with its children and communities. Currently its 5 year SCALE (School Completion and Livelihood Enablement) programme funded by Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative (APPI) and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, is supported by Mr. Lalhmachhuana, State Project Director- Samagra Shiksha, Government of Mizoram. The programme provides training to teachers from government schools across Mizoram, to build their capabilities to conduct life skills sessions to adolescents in schools, through activity based learning.
After the successful training sessions since 2014, Magic Bus has conducted online training sessions for teachers starting 7th September 2020, to prepare teachers for schools once they reopen post lockdown. So far 238 headmasters of these government schools have been oriented about the programme and 550 teachers have been trained to deliver life skills sessions to adolescents. There is a crisis due to the pandemic, but our goal is to ensure learning for children continues. Teachers will be trained to take up sessions on mental well-being, relevance of life skills during the current and post-pandemic situation, identifying and working on children with vulnerability, rekindling interest of learning among adolescents and COVID-19 prevention. The training will also equip teachers with skills to conduct virtual sessions, how to motivate children virtually & ways to implement the need based curriculum with adolescents.
Magic Bus conducted a survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on marginalised families and children in India. As per findings reported in Mizoram, more girls (56%) than boys (48%) feared dropping out of school. Teachers will be trained specifically to address this pressing issue. The SCALE programme has been working to construct a system that focuses on building capabilities at the adolescent stage, enabling them to complete their education and expedite their journey out of poverty. The training aims to eradicate any challenges or interruptions to education.
In addition to the support they have provided for the training under SCALE, the Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative (APPI) has funded Magic Bus’s COVID-19 relief efforts in Mizoram. Magic Bus Young Leaders and employees have distributed 1052 ration kits, impacting more than 5200 people from affected communities.
Encouraging the partnership, Mr. Lalhmachhuana, State Project Director said, “We are grateful that Magic Bus has provided training to our teachers, with support of the Magic Bus Academy (Online learning app). This is a great support system for the teachers and we look forward to continue the good work.”
Jayant Rastogi, Global CEO, Magic Bus said, “The uniqueness of the training is that the curriculum is need-based, addressing issues that need urgent attention. It is designed based on a survey we conducted with teachers, parents and adolescents in Mizoram. Despite the pandemic and lockdown, our strategy continues to ensure that learning for children and capability building of teachers continues so that they can begin conducting sessions until schools reopen. The training sessions will be virtual and will be supplemented with our learning app, Magic Bus Academy (MBA) which is our capacity building platform for Magic Bus employees and teachers.”
The online curriculum is based on years of programming experience, inputs from headmasters and teachers, results of the survey on impact of the pandemic and lockdown on children, child protection, gender and ways to ensure useful application of Magic Bus Academy.
Magic Bus has also created virtual groups of school children in the absence of day schools, to ensure children are connected to learning, even during the disruption. Magic Bus is conducting small group sessions on virtual platforms such as conference calls and WhatsApp, on the need based curriculum. Teachers are also being introduced to these virtual platforms and they have begun engaging with children.
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