If you haven't heard Beyonce's hit song, "Run the World
," listen to it now. Then come back. I'll wait. The first time I heard this song (because I'm not cool and I live in a cave) was in October when I attended the espnW Women + Sports Summit
in Arizona. That's also where I met Rahul Brahmbhatt, director of the Magic Bus organization.
Since 1999, Magic Bus
has been using sports as a catalyst for social change in communities living under the poverty line in India by combining youth mentoring and experiential learning as its core foundation. In the early years, less than 4% of children in Magic Bus were girls — a direct reflection of a society that only placed girls in the traditional roles of daughter, wife, mother, and homemaker. When Magic Bus enters a community for the first time, the question posed by parents is always the same: "How can anything sports-related possibly change my daughter's life for the better?"
Today, more than 44% of the 220,000 children in Magic Bus are girls — and they are writing the next chapters in their lives everyday. Here are just a few examples of how sports can, and are, changing the lives of girls and women across the developing world. —Dara Pettinelli