Bina Rampuria of Magic Bus Wants to Break the Cycle of Poverty in India
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Image: Bina Rampuria

The Magic Bus Foundation has been helping children and youths across India for over 20 years. It envisions a world where children can break away from the cycle of poverty and lead a fulfilling, rewarding life. They will come to be people who can contribute positively to the community and the world at large.

The aim of Magic Bus is simple: to equip these children with the skills and knowledge needed to help them lead a better life. To do this, the foundation initiated the “Childhood to Livelihood” programme, which is a roadmap that charts its beneficiaries’ growth through milestones like completing their secondary education to helping them secure their first job through impacting employable skills.

Also sharing the same vision with Magic Bus is Bina Rampuria, who believes that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to be successful. She sits on the board of directors of the Magic Bus Foundation, and is actively involved in its fundraising efforts. To date, the organisation has positively impacted the lives of more than 1 million adolescents and young people.

Ahead, LUXUO catches up with Bina Rampuria to learn more about the Magic Bus Foundation and its role in breaking the poverty cycle in India.

You have been established in Singapore for the past years. When was your first encounter with the Magic Bus Foundation and why did the Foundation’s objectives make you want to support their action?

I’m so proud to be associated with an organisation that works for a cause very close to my heart. I believe that everyone should have a chance to make something of themselves and Magic Bus is giving young people the opportunity to do that by equipping them with essential life skills and job skills. I whole-heartedly support the vision of Magic Bus to create a world where young people break out of poverty and go on to lead fulfilling, rewarding lives and contribute positively to their communities

What is the role of the Young Leaders within the Foundation?

Magic Bus Foundation
Image: Magic Bus Foundation

A Young Leader is not just a role but a personality. Magic Bus Young Leaders are influential individuals from within the community who work as mobilisers and coordinators. They even work with the local government and at a local village level with sarpanch for the betterment of their community.

The Magic Bus Foundation celebrated its 20th founding anniversary two years ago. How has its action evolved over the years? What key lessons have been learned in terms of youth education?

Magic Bus Foundation
Image: Magic Bus Foundation

When Magic Bus began in 1999, the Childhood programme was the main focus. Then in 2007, the first Livelihood programme was launched with a focus on job skills and placements. This has evolved over the years. Now, the focus is more on providing training and linkages to sustainable jobs and ensuring that young people are able to retain those jobs and grow in their careers.

Gender equality and equal access to education are still major challenges across India. Is the Foundation also tackling these sensitive issues?

An important outcome of the Childhood programme is Empowering adolescents. This is through teaching problem solving, teamwork, peer-to-peer learning, and providing a space to interact. This helps them learn about gender equality and teaches girls to have agency skills and be self-reliant.

Magic Bus Foundation
Image: Magic Bus Foundation

The Magic Bus programmes have a healthy mix of both girls and boys. The organisation works with adolescents to ensure they complete their education and have the ability to thrive as they transition to adulthood. This holistic development delays the age of marriage.

What struck you in India when you met children who have benefited from the support of the Magic Bus Foundation?

Magic Bus Foundation
Image: Magic Bus Foundation

I was impressed by their confidence and their ideas of teamwork, their knowledge of gender equality, nutrition and hygiene.

You have organised gatherings and gala dinners in Singapore in support of the Foundation — any new event(s) planned across the coming months?

On 25 May, we are having a Charity Golf Challenge at Tanah Merah Country Club and our annual gala will be held on 17 September at Hotel Capella.

What is your most striking memory when promoting the Magic Bus Foundation and explaining its objectives?

My memory of talking passionately about Magic Bus is matched with the same enthusiasm from all the donors. When they can see I am so dedicated to this cause, they support my beliefs and confidence.

Your favourite mantra that you live by?

“Do it anyway”

If you were to name one mentor who has inspired you in your life, who would that be?

Of course, Mathew Spacie.

To learn more about the Magic Bus Foundation, click here.

For more reads on leaders, click here.

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