Making learning a fun

Making learning a fun

After a gap of a couple of years, Magic Bus, a non-governmental organisation that works for the betterment of downtrodden children, plans to expand its project — Healthy Kids Programme — to government schools in the city, moving ahead of its community intervention model.

With ‘Sports for development’ as its main theme, the organisation plans to reach out to a dozen government schools across the district through a fresh project and educate students on health, nutrition, gender sensitisation, and healthy eating habits, along with a range of government schemes.

In 2013, Magic Bus had covered about 10 schools under the Rajeev Vidya Mission.

Adding new topics to the training module, the Healthy Kids Programme will concentrate on various aspects.

“The basic idea is to promote experiential learning through sports activity. As part of the pilot batch, we are planning to connect with a minimum of 4,000 children. The new proposal has already been submitted to the District Education Officer and the District Collector. Once we receive consent from them, things will shape up soon for the project,” says Sri Krishna, programme manager of Magic Bus.

Schools located in Allipuram, Dabagardens, Madhavadhara, Aganampudi, Malkapuram, Pendurthi, Vepagunta, Yendada, and Gopalapatnam have been identified for the programme.

Trained staff will visit theschools and impart value-based education.

Magic Bus, an NGO working for betterment of downtrodden children, plans to launch ‘Healthy Kids Programme’


Denizens all set for a ‘responsible’ Holi

Demonstrating awareness, they are all set to celebrate the festival by saying no to use of water

Two little girls are all smiles as they revel in holi colours in Vijayawada on Sunday.— Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Two little girls are all smiles as they revel in holi colours in Vijayawada on Sunday.— Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Drifting away from the traditional practice of soaking in colours, city residents will this time celebrate a ‘responsible’ holi by saying no to use of water. Demonstrating a better sense of awareness, people have taken upon themselves the task of promoting camaraderie, the so very essential element of Holi, but not at the cost of health.

The Sindhi community is one group that brings to the fore the true flavour of Holi. Families belonging to the community gathered at Sindhi Bhavan on Sunday night for ‘Holika Dahan’ or ‘Choti Holi’, a ritual that precedes the actual celebrations.


A bonfire is lit, and roasted grains, popcorn and chickpeas are thrown into it.

They will hit the streets on Monday and smear faces of passers-by with multiple hues. The crowd will then head to the sprawling open ground near Mahita School where all get involved in festivities, regardless of caste, age and gender.


The community, which has organised rain dance in the past as part of Holi celebrations, has switched over to a ‘dry holi’ this year. “We have a theme every year for the celebrations. This year, we will play sans use of water and only with organic colours. This is the best part of the celebrations,” says Veena Achchepaliya, a community member.

Maheswari Bhavan near Kotha Gudlu centre in One Town will have a rare buzz, as it will turn into the hub of celebrations for members of the Maheswari Samaj.

“The most endearing part of the celebrations is that it brings down caste and social barriers and ushers in oneness. We have a night of revelry with DJs, music bands, delicious food and bonding over the indispensable bhang,” says Kamal Bhattad, a member of Maheswari Samaj.


The revellers have also decided not to allow toxic, chemical-based colours. They are all geared up to indulge in a safe, eco-friendly merriment.


We have a theme every year for the celebrations. This year, we will play sans use of water and only with organic colours. This is the best part of the celebrations.

Veena Achchepaliya

Sindhi community member



Magic Bus to carry children to better future

NGO plans to ensure social reconstruction among underprivileged

The Magic Bus football team, which comprises underprivileged children in Hyderabad.- PHOTO: By Arrangement

The Magic Bus football team, which comprises underprivileged children in Hyderabad.- PHOTO: By Arrangement

They all board the ‘Magic Bus’ for a better future. Magic Bus India Foundation, a non-government organisation, has embarked on a novel venture of using sports as a tool for development and social reconstruction among the underprivileged communities.

Sports is an easier way to reach out to the deprived classes and convey the message that education, gender equality and health can be an integral part of their career with the right to play.

A good example being the Magic Bus football team set up here.

“Our objective is to educate the underprivileged through our approach of ‘childhood to livelihood’. It means to encourage kids to stay in schools, understand gender equality, and give them anecdotes on good social behaviour,” explains Dhimant Chovatia of Magic Bus.

To inculcate team spirit, the focus in sports has been on team games like football, volleyball, handball, cricket, kabaddi and kho kho to start with.

“For every 20-30 children, we have a boy or a girl from the community (from the 16 plus age group) as mentors. Sports becomes the binding factor here too, as the coach-student relationship is very strong in the field,” says Sandhya Srinivasan, State Head, Magic Bus.

Ajay Singh and 12-year-old Lakesh Kumar, both slum children, are now delighted for being associated with the Magic Bus.

“This programme gives me the power to change the future of the children and develop myself as an independent and confident person. What better can I do to the society and myself?” say the duo.

The NGO is also keen to partner other NGOs based in the State to extend their programmes. Magic Bus works with about 70,000 children in Andhra Pradesh out of the 2.5 lakh across India.


Magic Bus India Foundation plans to trigger development and ensure social reconstruction among underprivileged communities using sports



Keep moving and feel free to think

Can exercise invigorate the brain? Can it manage depression and anxiety, the twin conditions that are common among working professionals?

According to neurologists, greater levels of physical exercise boost the formation of neurons, which are the building blocks of our nervous system. “Exercise definitely has a positive impact on the brain. It increases blood circulation in the brain and speed up metabolism. It is not just physically beneficial. Exercise also helps mentally,” says Dr. I. Dinakar, neurosurgeon and former director of Nims.

Experts testify that exercise has a direct impact on anger, fatigue and stress. “It affects many sites within the nervous system and sets off pleasure chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that make us feel calm, happy, and euphoric. Owing to this, exercise has become an integral part of the management of depression and anxiety. Single bouts of exercise can reduce anxiety for several hours afterward, although there may be a lag time before the good feeling sets in,” says Dr. Alok Ranjan, senior neurologist.

Delivering a lecture on the impact of exercise on the brain, organised by Public Garden Walkers’ Association, Dr. Ranjan said exercise increased oxygen flow into the brain, which reduced harmful chemicals (free radicals), leading to an uptick in the brain’s sharpness. “There are studies that have claimed that exercise among adolescents have shown greater volume within specific parts of the brain (the hippocampus), which helps them achieve better scores in cognitive tests,” he adds.

“Among old people, exercise has shown improvement in their memory and loss of less brain matter. It is very vital for older people to stay active,” Dr. Dinakar says.

According to physicians, physical activity facilitates one to think clearly, perform better, besides improving morale.

Among the elderly, physical activity prevents age-related illnesses that impact the overall performance of the brain.


Physical exercise boosts neuron formation, which makes one feel calm and composed



A unique gesture to visually impaired

A unique programme took place here on Wednesday on the occasion of New Year when a physically challenged youth came forward to celebrate the day with visually impaired members of Mother Theresa Seva Samstha, which was established about 12 years ago by physically challenged Kankipati Govind.

The celebrations were arranged in Zion Blind School in Rajahmundry on Wednesday. About 80 visually impaired students aged between three years and 12 years assembled at Zion Residential school. Mr. Govind arranged a huge cake and invited Revenue Divisional Officer M. Venugopal Reddy as chief guest.

Services lauded

Three-year old Keerthana, who lost both her eyes, cut the cake along with RDO Mr. Reddy and other children, and wished the guest and others happy New Year. Speaking on the occasion, the RDO lauded the services of Mr. Govind.

He said that it was highly appreciable and everyone should take Mr. Govind as an inspiration in serving the needy in society. Mr. Reddy also lauded the services of Zion School.

After the morning session, Mr. Govind and his team distributed blankets and sarees to the poor at his shop in Gorakshanapeta in which pediatrician Dr. Ravikiran participated as chief guest.

In the evening, MTSS arranged free special meal to the inmates of orphanage-Miriam Children Home and former Minister Gorantla Butchaiah Chowdary served the meal to the children.

Kankipati Govind, whose legs were paralysed due to polio after birth, is running a grease shop in a small corner street of Gorakshanapeta in Rajahmundry. He started Mother Theresa Service Organisation about 12 years ago and took up several service programmes with funds collected from autorickshaw drivers and other low-income group people.

Coin box

He requested to fix a coin box in each auto which comes to his shop for grease and passengers contribute voluntarily in these boxes whenever they travel in the autos.

At the end of each year, all the boxes would be opened and the money would be counted and Mr. Govind and his organisation members Ch. Srinu, Ch. Sai Ramesh, Satish and K. Maruti add a matching amount to the total collected. On every first of New Year, the MTSS arranges several programmes for the poor and needy including free meals, distribution of clothes, blankets and other activities in differentinstitutions.

The MTSS also organises Vinayaka Navaratri and also Sree Rama Navami annually with the money collected.

Free special meal arranged for the inmates of Miriam Children Home. Former Minister Gorantla Butchaiah Chowdary serves meals to children



Tobacco Board Foundation Day tomorrow

The 10th Foundation Day of Tobacco Board will be celebrated here on Friday.

Board Chairman Koothati Gopal will preside over the function. Several members of the board, including MPs P. Venkatesh Joshi, Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, MLC and board vice-chairman A. Manju and other members of the board representing farmers and traders will be present.

The board will felicitate 30 best growers from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka (one grower from each auction platform) for achieving the highest yield of FCV Tobacco during the crop season 2012-13 with a shield and a cash award of Rs.5,000 to each best grower.

The board will also felicitate 19 best traders for achieving highest performance in exports under manufacturer’s category and merchant exporters category.


Weight loss resolution # 2014.

Stay committedEnjoy healthier foods and stay active to maintain a healthy lifestyleWellness Begin 2014 by setting realistic goals and focussing on health and fitness

Hundreds of fad diets, weight-loss programs and outright testimonials promise quick and easy weight loss. From drinking honey dipped warm water to celebrity diets, you might want to plan 2014 as your ‘Weight Loss Year’. However, your weight is a balancing act, and calories are part of that equation. Weight loss comes down to burning more calories that you take in. You can do that by reducing extra calories from foods and increasing calories burned through physical activity. Once you understand that equation, you’re ready to set your weight-loss goals and make a plan for reaching them.

Consider these points to make your weight loss plan a success.

Set realistic goals

It’s best to aim for losing 0.5 to 1 kilogram a week. Don’t aim to lose 5-10 kg in one month and don’t let such ads lure you to unhealthy eating practices.

When you’re setting goals, think about both process and outcome goals. ‘Exercise regularly’ is an example of a process goal, while ‘Lose 15 kg’ is an example of an outcome goal. It isn’t essential that you have an outcome goal, but you should set process goals, because changing your habits is a key to weight loss. Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited. An example is aiming to walk for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, and recording your results.

Enjoy healthier foods

Adopting a new eating style that promotes weight loss must include lowering your total calorie intake. But decreasing calories need not mean giving up taste, satisfaction or even ease of meal preparation. One way you can lower your calorie intake is by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without giving up taste or nutrition. In particular, get your weight loss started by

* Eating a healthy breakfast every day

* Four servings of vegetables as salads, sautéed vegetables and boiled vegetables.

* Three servings of fruits daily. Include a fruit with every meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and as snacks. Prefer whole fruits to fruit juices.

* Use healthy fats, such as olive oil and vegetable oils. Limit oils to 3-4 tsp per day (1/2 L per month)

* Cut back on sugar (2-3 tsp per day),

* Choose low-fat dairy products – prefer skimmed or double toned milk, low fat paneer, low fat yoghurt.

Get active, stay active

While you can lose weight without exercise, exercise plus calorie restriction can help give you the weight-loss edge. Exercise can help burn off the excess calories you can’t cut through diet alone. Exercise also offers numerous health benefits, including strengthening your cardiovascular system and reducing your blood pressure. Exercise can also help in maintaining weight loss.

How many calories you burn depends on the frequency, duration and intensity of your activities. One of the best ways to lose body fat is through steady aerobic exercise such as brisk walking for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Any extra movement helps burn calories, though. Lifestyle activities may be easier to fit into your day. Think about ways you can increase your physical activity throughout the day.

Make a commitment to stay healthy; not merely lose weight.

Weight loss takes time and effort and a lifelong commitment. Make sure that you’re ready to make permanent changes and that you do so for the right reasons. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to change your habits and also form new healthier habits. But whatever you do for weight loss should be to promote your overall health. These habits should become your way of life.