As you’re getting your family ready for another school year, here’s a look at some of the great lengths children around the world are going to every day to get themselves to the classroom.
Whether it’s walking for miles or bumping along in the back of an overcrowded truck, these 15 photos highlight the challenges some children face in accessing education. They celebrate the fact that despite the odds, they’ve made it to school!
For these children, getting to school means taking a ride in a canoe made from the trunk of a huge coconut tree. In their remote community, the journey involves a 45-minute hike across several rice fields and the precarious canoe ride across the Wawa River. Before their local church partnered with us, the community didn’t have a boat. The children had to swim to the other side to get to school.
1. On a canoe made from a hollowed-out coconut tree
2. An hourlong hike
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Bicycles are the world’s favorite form of transportion. Hitching a ride on a friend’s bike is always a good option!
3. Hitching a ride on a friend’s bike
4. A fun school bus ride with classmates
In this community, the closest school is more than 4 miles away. But when you’re telling jokes with your friends, the hot, dusty journey doesn’t feel quite as long.
5. Walking more than 4 miles each way
6. Uphill both ways on stairs
7. On the back of your grandparent’s moped
Most mornings you’ll see a group of schoolchildren waiting by the side of the river for their ride to school — a canoe. In this community in Sri Lanka, a boat is the only way to get to school. During the monsoon season when it often floods, the children are cut off from their school and instead try to learn at home.
8. When the school bus is a boat
9. On your dad’s rickshaw
10. A leisurely ride on the local fishing boat
The remote village of Ngandong in Central Java, Indonesia, was isolated from the outside world for one simple reason: the gaping holes in the village’s only access road. The closest public school is 5 1/2 miles away. Walking the narrow path through the forest to get there took students two hours. The villagers tried to repair the road but monsoon rains quickly undid their hard work. Seeing how the road condition was preventing children from continuing their education, Compassion staff hired a truck to take students to and from school — a life-changing initiative!
11. On the back of a truck
12. Tramping through fields
Ten-year-old Jerry in Ghana used to walk the long distance to school each day, arriving tired and often late. His sponsor gifted him a bike — now he’s early to school!
13. Cruising in style
Heavy rains turn the roads to mud in Supakan’s village, making them impassable except on foot (and by elephant). More than an inconvenience, it also prevented the government-funded teacher from making the journey to the village. Compassion provides a substitute teacher when the children’s regular teacher can’t attend. As long as the children have their gumboots and umbrellas, the weather no longer stops them from getting their education!
14. Traipsing through the mud
These children’s journeys to school are out of the ordinary not just because of the effort they involve or the transportation. They’re extraordinary because these kids are in school, when 58 million children between the ages of 6 and 11 around the world are not.
Every child should have the right to an education. But poverty can cause children to miss out. Compassion child sponsorship helps children receive the support they need to attend school, and eventually live a life free from poverty.
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15. The walking school bus
A version of this post originally appeared on the Compassion Australia Blog.