Magic Bus is a not-for-profit organisation that gives underprivileged children in India the opportunity to bridge social divides and improve their quality of life through the power of sport.
The charity was established in 1999 in Mumbai, creating safe environments for those children to play football and other sports as well as providing much-needed education opportunities.
It has since extended its programme into other Indian cities and in July 2010, the Premier League extended its six-year relationship with Magic Bus, becoming a primary funding partner by committing £584,000 over the next three years.
The additional commitment will enable Magic Bus to deliver its programme to four districts in the Indian capital Delhi as well as the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
By the end of 2012, the charity will be engaging 200,000 children across India with the aim of extending that figure to 600,000 in 2013 and one million in 2014.
Using local young people as trained mentors as well as community coaches, the sessions use sport, particularly football, as a driver to help children living in some of the worst conditions in the world to make effective life choices in areas such as gender equality, education and health.
The sessions aim to bring positive changes in the children, the local mentors and their communities, enabling them to discover new experiences, develop a better understanding of their environment as well as address fundamental issues like education.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore was overwhelmed by the impact of Magic Bus when he visited Delhi to see the programmes in action alongside Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt.
“Magic Bus is a fantastic organisation and it is heartening to know that our funding has already helped develop 350 mentors, who use football to improve the lives of more than 3,500 young people every year,” said Mr Scudamore.
“This new arrangement will help Magic Bus expand their innovative work to many more areas of India. I am sure Magic Bus’s continued growth will enable even more young people to discover their true potential.”
Mr Hunt was impressed by the coaches’ abilities to empower children and give them an opportunity to express themselves outside of their everyday environment.
“Sport is a fantastic way to inspire young people, but this can only be achieved if there are tools on the ground to support them,” said Mr Hunt.
“That’s why this commitment from the Premier League is fantastic, helping to develop young people who would not have otherwise had access to sport.”
Matthew Spacie, founder and chief executive of Magic Bus, added: “Play builds confidence and self-belief, creating a purpose in life for those marginalised in society.
“We have benefited greatly from the Premier League’s support and are excited to be embarking on another three year partnership with them. They are a testament to the positive power of football.”