14 Examples of Real Magic

The late Tom Petty remarked, “Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life.” A song can transport us to a place of peaceful solitude. Or, listening to music can remind us that we are connected to others and not alone.

Diversitá Opera Arts Company

Diversita Opera Arts Company in Dallas, Texas is spreading the magic of classical music through giving students scholarships and performance opportunities. They also bring music education to individuals with special needs, foster care and senior living facilities. Through presentations to schools and in community centers, featuring a diverse team of artists and performers, Diversita Opera Arts demonstrates that classical music is for everyone. They know that diverse groups can create beauty together, building inclusion and fostering greater equality.

Although music can feel like magic for the listener, musicians have to put in a lot of work for that to happen. Today we honor 14 magical projects and the hard-working leaders who make them happen in their communities around the globe.

Minnesota’s Black Community Project (MBCP) in Minneapolis, Minnesota provides opportunities for community building and networking among African Americans in Minnesota. They highlight the historical and contemporary accomplishments and contributions of African American Minnesotans through community programs in the form of community lectures, panel discussions, musical concerts, performances and art exhibits.

Live with Hope Organization

Live with Hope (LIHO) Organization’s fruit tree seedling project in Buwenge Town Council, Uganda helps children ages 12 to 17 who have committed minor offences to be diverted from the formal legal system and survive the trauma of criminal justice system.

Allison Tu and Harsha Paladugu in Louisville, Kentucky created the STEM + Youth science kits for elementary and middle schoolers to carry out cutting-edge but intuitive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) experiments.

Dismas Rading’s Kisumu Eco-Designers Project in Kisumu, Kenya aims to reduce crime among youth in the Obunga slum by teaching them vocational skills in carpentry using recycled wood materials and training them basic entrepreneurial skills.

Kashalot’s Living Reads project in Varna, Bulgaria encourages people to move away from their mobile phones and use their time while waiting for the public transport to read and experience real literature. They will use existing walls and ad spaces at public transport stations and turn them into “living books.”

Johanna Hoffman, founder and designer at Shiftworks in Berkeley, California, has created Waterspots — decentralized, public water catchment hubs that harvest fog, rain and dew.

“EMERGE — Eradication of Early Marriage & Restoring Girls’ Entity” is an initiative of SPANDHANA in Ramanagaram, India, which empowers survivors of child marriage and forced marriages who are deserted, divorced and separated. They are building a resource center that will provide after school support and career guidance as well as enable transformation on gender and social issues.

Eleonora Mamatova and the “CARE” Team’s project Promoting Girls’ Education in Kyrgyzstan provides a free, year-long English course to twenty teenager girls from poor families in Osh, Kyrgyzstan to improve their career and higher education opportunities.

Vegan Soul SD hosts vegan meal prep activities and supports a vegan lifestyle among African American women in San Diego, California.

Evans Okumu’s Bodaboda Safety Rider project in Busia, Kenya trains BodaBoda motorcycle riders on road safety and first aid skills. Because BodaBodas are such a common form of public transport, these classes will also teach social skills and work with BodaBoda riders to promote civic responsibility.

Joash Omondi Ombuya’s RHEDSCAH project in Kisumu, Kenya trains youth on reproductive health, distributes reusable sanitary products, counsels them on drug and substance abuse, works with them to provide vocational training and sponsors medical coverage.

The Reforestation Programme, led by Chukwuma Smart Amaefula, Emmanuel Unaegbu and Matthew Okoye, serves the Kuje area of Nigeria by providing local communities with training and information on forest conservation techniques, reforestation, and new advocacy tools for the campaign against deforestation. There will be a specific focus on how forest conservation impacts women and girls.