Wednesday evening, September 21st, Magic Bus USA held its second annual New York gala at Three Sixty° in Manhattan. All contributions from ticket sales, auction bids, and pledges that evening went directly toward enrolling more children in the Magic Bus program.
Special musical guest Arum Rae began the program with a performance of “What a Wonderful World,” before founder Matthew Spacie and chairman of the board of directors Amit Bhandari welcomed guests and spoke about the important work Magic Bus has done helping children in India for the last seventeen years.
Guests included organization ambassador Georgina Chapman, members of the board of directors Amit and Arpita Bhandari and Ram Shriram; Fern Mallis; Cameron Silver; fashion designer Bibhu Mohapatra; Marissa Bronfman; Sonja Morgan; singer Maxwell; New York City Football Club player Steven Mendoza; and models Alina Baikova and Toni Garrn, among others.
During the program, renowned Indian actor and patron Abhishek Bachchan spoke passionately about his involvement with Magic Bus and the organization’s effects on many communities in India, working with 400,000 children across twenty-two states. Justin Reeves, Magic Bus executive director, debuted a powerful short film – narrated by actress Sarita Choudhury – about the lives of three young women who have participated in the Magic Bus program. Two of the young women, Sangita Jaykumar, 26, and Manisha Gupta, 10, were present and received a standing ovation.
Magic Bus is one of the world’s most cost-effective and impactful poverty alleviation programs, working with children in India ages 12 to 18. Through mentoring and an activity-based curriculum, Magic Bus equips some of the world’s poorest children and youth with the life-skills and knowledge they need to grow up and be successful, move out of poverty, and take control of their futures. In the last 17 years, Magic Bus has achieved monumental results, with 71% of participants entering college, and not a single female participant married against her will before the age of 18.