Award-winning international education charity Magic Bus have launched a new campaign – backed by inspirational women here in the UK – in response to Covid-19 and the impact it will have on women and girls across India.

The group of internationally renowned figures include actresses Seeta Indrani, Mamta Kaash, and Goldy Notay, television and radio presenter Seema Jaswal, comedian Shazia Mirza, Hindi singer Avina Shah, celebrity make-up artist Dimps Sanghani, chef Nitisha Patel, academic Opinderjit Kaur Takhar and footballer Sandeep Tak. The advocates will use their profile and influence to raise awareness of the cause, bring their unique talents and skills to fundraising campaigns and be an advisory group for Magic Bus UK’s board.

Magic Bus runs one of the largest poverty alleviation programmes in South East Asia, working with approximately 385,000 children and 9000 trained volunteer mentors in 22 States across India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. Our vision is a world where children break out of poverty and lead fulfilling, rewarding lives, contributing positively to their community and to the world around them. Children on the Magic Bus programme complete school and go on to enrol in vocational institutes or colleges. They successfully fend off destabilizers such as child marriage and child labour and become first-generation salary earners. Our participants complete their education and go on to have secure careers. In December 2019, Magic Bus was nominated as one of the top 5 non-profits in education across South-East Asia.

Announcing the advocates support comes at a crucial time for Magic Bus, as young people and communities in India have been hit hard by the pandemic and ongoing lockdown. The women will be supporting Magic Bus’ COV:AID fundraising campaign to help raise funds and strengthen COVID-19 relief efforts to prevent, protect, and persevere for India.

The Magic Bus team on-the-ground in India are witness to all of this, doing everything within their power to prevent loss of life, protect our young people and persevere in the face of this pandemic. Magic Bus is working with government and local community leaders to ensure those who need food, medical supplies and hygiene products most can access them. Our teams are delivering life-saving essentials to thousands of households across India, and we are prepared to scale this over the coming weeks. To enable this, inspirational frontline staff are receiving training and protective equipment to enable them to reach these vulnerable people as safely as possible. Over the next few months, Magic Bus will need to reach hundreds of thousands of households. For the duration of this terrifying humanitarian crisis they are changing their approach to ensure children, young people, and their families living in poverty get the support they need.

Magic Bus UK’s Director, Rahul Bissoonauth commented:

“The support of these inspirational individuals comes at a time when it is needed most. Their stories, and their willingness to come forward and support our vital work in India at this time, give us hope and show us the best of humanity; people helping people – through hard-work, creativity, neighbourliness, and charitable giving. We’re delighted to have each of them on board for this new campaign and look forward to working closely with them over the coming months.”

Of becoming a Magic Bus advocate, Shazia Mirza, comedian and writer, added:

“I love what Magic Bus does and stands for in South Asia. Having been a teacher and worked with young people for most of my life, I know education is the answer for the future of these children, especially girls who may be forced to marry young. Education is the key to their freedom.”

The latest information and updates about the advocates support will be available through the Magic Bus UK website and social media pages.

To support the COV:AID campaign individuals can donate via https://magicbusuk.org/covaid/ Due to the generosity of the Dhanam Foundation, donations to Magic Bus’s COVID-19 Relief efforts will be matched 1:1, up to $500,000. Organisations wishing to explore how a greater contribution to help Magic Bus scale efforts, can contact the UK Director, Rahul Bissoonauth at rahul@magicbusuk.org.

 

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