David Chikvaidze, Chief Librarian and Chairman of the UNOG Cultural Committee stated,
“Sport itself cannot move a country out of poverty. However, it can contribute to bringing about social change.”
We at Magician Foundation India (MFI) began with a simple aspiration: to bring access to play to children from low-income families living in the slums of Mumbai.
The idea of MFI began germinating as far back as 2004 when a few likeminded young volunteers started teaching rugby to other children from their communities. These young people spent their days confined to the narrow lanes of the community, they were unable to dream of a better tomorrow. Many of them were exposed to substance abuse and violence. They were dropping out of school and giving up hope.
These poverty stricken children were taken to a nearby field to play Rugby. It was the first time they had stepped foot on such open grounds, with room to run and breathe. They now had the opportunity to learn and develop into joyful young individuals. The narrow bylanes had been converted into pathways of hope.
Our efforts over the years taught us that this form of play has a much greater impact than just exercise. We saw evidence of children motivated to attend school, to move away from substance abuse and to even share dreams of playing Rugby professionally. The impact was exciting and reassuring.
In 2017, we decided to register as a foundation under the Charitable Trust Act, with an aim to turn our slum communities into a field of play and a space for social change. We strive to bring hope, opportunity and optimism to the lives of our children. We believe that the benefits of playing a sport is almost infinite. It empowers and connects. Sport is not confined to the school grounds—it heals and reconstructs communities engulfed in the perils of poverty.
MFI works with a sharp focus, using Rugby to promote education and other essential life skills for better lives.
MFI is working in 5 different communities of Mumbai: namely Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagar, Ganesh Murti Nagar, Mahatma Phule Nagar, Colaba and Shiv Shastri Nagar. These communities and the families living there all fall under the low socioeconomic strata of our society where help is so desperately needed.