Over 200 guests, including some who had driven down from Muscat, Oman, attended Diwali Magic, to help make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children.

The gala dinner, held on Thursday at the One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai, was organised by Natasha Kothari to raise funds for Magic Bus, a non-governmental organisation based in Mumbai, India. Part of the proceeds from the dinner and an auction of celebrity memorabilia were donated to Dubai Cares.

Founded in 1999, by Briton Matthew Spacie, Magic Bus believes in the child's right to play, as declared by the UN. It uses sport and outdoor activities to enable underprivileged children to realise their potential and contribute to the development of their communities.

"In Mumbai, an estimated 2.4 million children live on the streets. Our sports-for-development curriculum helps them to build self-esteem and confidence, learn team work, develop communication skills and learn about health and hygiene while having fun," said Spacie.

"We are committed to promoting gender equality and train an equal number of girls and boys to be coaches, empowering them to become peer leaders and help develop their own communities," he added.

What is magic bus?

Matthew Spacie, who headed the Cox & Kings tourist company in India, is a sport lover and began by teaching street children rugby and taking them for treks and beach trips in his spare time.

Seeing the positive impact of these activities on the children, he gave up his job to focus on developing the concept into a sustainable organisation.

Magic Bus now has 80 coaches working with 4,000 children in Mumbai every year and is poised to expand to other parts of India.