Matthew Spacie

Matthew Spacie (born 19 January 1967) is India-based British entrepreneur, humanitarian, and a former international rugby player.[1] Matthew is the co-founder of Cleartrip,[2] a global online travel company.[3] He is also the former chief operating officer (COO) of the travel group, Cox & Kings Ltd.[4] He is the founder of Magic Bus[5] (also known as the Magic Bus India Foundation), a non-governmental organisation working with children and youth taking them from childhood to livelihood.[6][3][7]

Matthew Spacie
Matthew Spacie

(1967-01-19) January 19, 1967 (age 53)
NationalityBritain, Indian
Alma mater
OccupationSocial entrepreneur, Humanitarian
Years active1986–present
Known forFounder of Magic Bus
Home townMumbai, India
Board member ofDASRA
Spouse(s)Ashima Narain
WebsiteMatthew Spacie bio at Magic Bus

He has been accorded numerous accolades including Member of the Order of the British Empire[8] and Business Standard Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2018.[1]


Born to an Army father in Cyprus, Matthew is a British citizen and currently lives in Mumbai, India with his family.[9] He attended boarding school in the United Kingdom.[10] He first came to India in 1986 at the age of nineteen and worked as a volunteer with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity organisation in Calcutta when he was just out of college.[8][4]

Matthew returned to the UK, to pursue graduate studies in BA Humanities at the Nottingham Trent University and New York State University. Following his graduation and a number of management positions in the UK, Matthew was posted to India in 1996, as the Chief Operating Officer of the travel group Cox & Kings Ltd.[8] During his time at Cox & Kings, Matthew played rugby for the Indian national team[4] and was awarded international rugby caps for India and playing in the World Cup Qualifiers in 2001.[11] He spent much of his spare time practicing rugby at the Bombay Gymkhana. Outside his club, he observed a group of boys, hanging around its premises, watching the game with interest. He invited them into the club and began coaching them.[12][13]

In 1999, Matthew founded Magic Bus with a group of street and slum-dwelling children from Mumbai.[2] It was an opportunity for these children to engage in sports as a momentary relief from their day-to-day challenges. In 2001, Matthew resigned his job at Cox & Kings to focus full time on Magic Bus.[7] He teamed up with an NGO named Akanksha with the intention of providing children a weekend break away from the difficulties of their everyday lives. Every fortnight he hired a bus taking the rugby boys to mentor younger children from local NGOs, to a hill station or the beach.[12] The children started calling this the Magic Bus. At an early stage Matthew saw that using sport and good local mentors to intervene and influence young vulnerable people was an effective way to change behavior and move people from poverty.[13]

Magic Bus is one of the largest non profits in India that leads the fight against poverty.[9] Since its inception in 1999, Magic Bus has transformed the lives of more than one million children and young people and helped them move out of poverty through its childhood to livelihood programme.[14][4][7][15][16]

In 2006, Matthew co-founded Cleartrip which is an online travel company rendering services across the globe.[17][2]

Matthew was on the Global Advisory Boards of Etihad Airlines and currently sits on the board of DASRA.[10]

Awards and achievementsEdit

  • 2001: Awarded international rugby caps for India and playing in the World Cup Qualifiers.[11]
  • 2002: Elected to the Ashoka Fellowship.[18]
  • 2007: Awarded the Member of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen of England for services to children in the Commonwealth.[8]
  • 2013: Appointed as an Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy (ACSEP) Fellow from the National University of Singapore[19]
  • 2014: His organisation’s Magic Bus has been recognized at the Laureus World Sports Awards.[9][6]
  • 2014: Magic Bus India won the President’s Rashtriya Khel Protsahan award for promotion and development of Sports.[6]
  • 2015: Matthew was awarded Beyond Sport Leadership Award.[20]
  • 2016: His organization Magic Bus won Charity of the year award at the Asian Voice Charity Awards, UK.[21]
  • 2016: Magic Bus won UEFA Foundation for Children Award.[22]
  • 2017: Magic Bus won the Sports Illustrated, Special Award for Services to Sports Award.[23]
  • 2018: Recognized as India’s Top educational influencers by Scoo News.[7]
  • 2018: Won the Business Standard Social Entrepreneur of the year.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Matthew is married to Ashima Narain with three children.[24][25] Matthew met Ashima in Mumbai. Ashima is a wildlife photographer and documentary filmmaker.[10][26] She has shot documentary films titled The Last Dance and In the Pink.[27][28]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Business Standard CSR awards 2017: Power-packed jury picks best three". Business Standard. 20 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Ramanathan, Arundhati (15 September 2015). "Magic Bus builds on Indian model to become a global NGO". Mint.
  3. ^ a b Goyal, Malini (25 August 2013). "Matthew Spacie's Magic Bus uses sports-based activities to transform underprivileged children's lives". The Economic Times.
  4. ^ a b c d "Matthew Spacie - Founder and Executive Chairman of Magic Bus". IUE Magazine.
  5. ^ "Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Assam, Magic Bus and Nestlé India commemorate World Health Day in Guwahati". The Dairy Times. 7 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Hop onto a magic bus this marathon". Daily News and Analysis.
  7. ^ a b c d "Being the Founder and Executive Chairman of Magic Bus". ScooNews (issuu): 32. 19 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d "Magic Bus chairman gets 'Member of British Empire'". The Economic Times. 21 January 2007.
  9. ^ a b c "Indian NGO Magic Bus gets recognition at Laureus awards". The Times of India. 27 March 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Jenkins, Cordelia (14 March 2013). "Magic Bus: Reaching out to slums with sport". Mint.
  11. ^ a b "Matthew Spacie, MBE, Founder, Magic Bus". Ed Brainstorm.
  12. ^ a b Kapadia, Payal (17 July 2006). "Air-Conditioned Gypsy On His Magic Caravan". Outlook (Indian magazine).
  13. ^ a b "We often take it for granted in this country what a wonderful opportunity playing a team sport like rugby is". The Daily Telegraph. 28 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Wheels of change: Magic Bus is helping the youth break the cycle of poverty through skills training". Dailyhunt.
  15. ^ "Like and share". Mid Day. 2020-02-22. Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  16. ^ Kappal, Bhanuj (22 February 2019). "The Magic Bus journey: from childhood to livelihood". Mint.
  17. ^ "Crystal clear: Using design as a differentiator in a crowded market". NDTV. March 10, 2014.
  18. ^ "Matthew Spacie (Ashoka Fellowship)".
  19. ^ "Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy (ACSEP)". National University of Singapore.
  20. ^ "Beyond Sport Awards 2015 winners announced". Sport and Dev. 20 October 2015.
  21. ^ "Asian Voice Charity Awards powered by Charity Clarity winners". Asian Voice charity Awards.
  22. ^ "2016 UEFA Foundation for Children Awards". UEFA Foundation.
  23. ^ "Sindhu Wins Magic Bus & Sports Illustrated Award". Indian Television. 7 July 2017.
  24. ^ "Family Function". Mumbai Mirror. 16 August 2017.
  25. ^ Narain, Ashima (14 May 2018). "Visiting grandparents is a journey into an everexpanding shared history". PressReader.
  26. ^ "Prestigious recognition". Mid Day. 10 March 2017.
  27. ^ Kannadasan, Akila (21 March 2013). "Through the lens, softly". The Hindu.
  28. ^ Ganguly, Nivedita (17 January 2015). "'In the pink' of documenting life". The Hindu.

External linksEdit