I wanna be like Matthew Spacie! Matthew who? Spacie!
Being sent from his british employer to the turbulent city of Mumbai in order to manage the indian brach of their traveling business, Spacie soon felt he is working on the wrong side.
He usually played rugby on a playground nearby Mumbai Fashion Street where many of the very underpriviledged children of the 14 Million megacity live and start their day with substance abuse, stealing or just unsatisfied hunger. Matthew Spacie, who even made it to the indian national rugby team, invited 40 streetkids to get involved with him in sportive activities.
That was the starting point of "Magic Bus", a charity that soon should reach millions of little indians with a very unconventional plan.
The idea: Sport! Development through sports. The kids sign up for a program that makes them go through several sports moduls, teaching them not only how to become physically stronger but at the same time bringing to them moral virtues like teamplay, motivation, persistency and ambition. Breaking down the walls that gender, religion and caste create, sports and membership is giving the kids (and their parents) new perspectives in life being self-confident and aware citizens. They playfully learn how to deal with everyday situations by analysing game situations moderated by some sort of a referee or mentor.
Spacie said: "It is all about participation". After running through some Magic Bus programs-moduls, the kids soon get directly involved into the program by taking over responsibility for teams and becoming teachers or mentors themselves, passing on the Magic Bus spirit.
Being a business man for a long time, Spacies goal was the charity to be independent from institutional donors by raising their own money and growing fast. There were already enough non-profit organizations in India, stuck with small target groups and working as string puppets for huge donor institutions.
"It had to be scalable and sustainable", Spacie said at the BMW Young Leaders Lecture.
He wouldn't accept donations without the donor being actively involved into the program with for example teaching or administration work.
Today, Magic Bus is having lots of branch offices thorugout the counrty giving more then 4 Million marginalised kids the chance of a better life.
Being conferred by the Queen of England with the coveted "Member of British Empire", the runner of a huge development organisation, Spacie still hasn't finished "his work".
"We're currently working on expanding to other countries like Cambodia or Malaysia with our succesfull sports curriculum"
Get involved with Magic Bus by participation in the program or through bying a shirt from French Connection's fashionable Magic Bus Collection.