Rural students in India’s Chattisgarh risk their lives everyday by crossing rain-swollen river in narrow boats to attend school.
Bhan Sahu, the correspondent of this video is a mother of two school-going children. For years, she has been struggling to get both her children educated because her rural district lacks proper educational infrastructure. Check out Bhan Sahu’s personal profile here. In this video she captures one of the many problems that school children there face: Crossing overflowing rivers in narrow boats as there are no roads and no bridges.
The children in this video live in a village called Sitakasa where there are no schools. So, children of this village travel for miles to attend schools in a faraway village. On their way, everyday they have to cross a river that has no bridge on it. This becomes dangerous in the monsoon because the water level rises very high, threatening to capsize the boat. Also, the boatmen close their ferry service early afternoon. So, not only these children risk getting drowned, but also miss classes to take the boat back home in time. Above all, when it rains heavily, the ferry stays closed, thus forcing the students to miss school altogether.
Now, the Government of Chattisgarh claims that 76% of the state’s rural population has access to education. But according to Bhan Sahu, the access is far from being easy. Besides, if the students are frequently missing classes either due to rain or logistical problems, it is bound to affect their learning as well.
Bhan Sahu says that there is an urgent need to build a bridge over the river. But, the ideal solution is to build a school in Sitakasa, so that its children can access education right in their own village.