Sahil's Story - Finding His Future

It’s a journey that’s familiar to young people around the world: leaving their rural home behind in in hope of finding better prospects, better jobs, better futures, in the city. This is no easy journey, and too many will fall by the wayside, trapped in poverty because they don’t have the education, skills or support they need to succeed. For 21-year-old Sahil, his story might have ended the same way, were it not for Magic Bus.

Sahil grew up in a region of India known as the Konkan, a long stretch of land running down India’s western coast from Mumbai to Goa. His family are farmers, and together with his parents they toiled in their single field every day to pull together an income that was barely sufficient on which to survive.

Meeting our basic needs was a constant struggle for my family as our combined annual income was only Rs 100,000” (just over £900 a year), Sahil shares, reminiscing about his early days.

Like many other young people his age, Sahil decided that the
best way to support his family was to move to the big city, to Mumbai, where he could find a job that would provide a sustainable income. Along with his older brother, Sahil moved into a Chawl, a type of low-quality tenement closely associated with poverty that are found all over Mumbai. Unfortunately, despite his boundless enthusiasm to find a job, Sahil had no idea even where to begin. Without guidance, Sahil would likely remain trapped in unemployment, just like almost a quarter of all other young people in India.

As luck would have it, Sahil had made a friend who was familiar with the local Magic Bus Livelihood Programme, and he  recognised the opportunity it provided.

“Magic Bus was a turning point in my life. It’s where I found the support and guidance I needed.”

Sahil was eager from day one, always recognisable by his
smiling face in the front row. But there were still challenges to be overcome. To begin with, Sahil struggled to open up during sessions, fearful for being judged for his rural background. But with the support of his Magic Bus trainers and his classmates on the programme, Sahil’s communication skills improved, and
his self-confidence began to soar. As well as learning to open up, Sahil developed interview, teambuilding and communication skills. “I started doing self-study, submitted assignments on time, and actively participated in every session,” he shared.

With the help of the Livelihood Programme, Sahil was able to get an interview with Reliance Footwear, a subsidiary of Reliance, India’s largest retailer. After just a single interview, Sahil was immediately offered a job as Customer Care Executive and now earns over Rs 140,000 a year (around £1,350), a salary that will help Sahil not only start his journey out of poverty but also allows Sahil to achieve his goal of supporting his family.

“Magic Bus helped me bridge the gap, transforming my fear into confidence. They not only taught me skills but helped me present myself better. Magic Bus not only changed my life but also my family’s.”