15 Of the Most Dangerous Journeys to School

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For many of us a big part of our childhood is walking to and from school. We have heard the stories of how our parents or grandparents had to walk miles in the snow to get to school. Perhaps some of those tales were embellished just a little bit, but we got the point. A lot of kids these days have the luxury of being driven to school and picked up afterward, whether it is done by mom, dad, a community car pool or the bus provided by the school. In other countries children don’t have the option of being taken to school in a comfortable car. Their journey for education takes them across rivers, lakes, mountains, and busy and dangerous cities.

Manila, Philippines  In Manila rain can be a deadly event causing flash floods and destroying poorly build buildings. This makes getting to school very difficult for the children. In this photo students wear rubber boots and use chairs as a makeshift bridge to get to a classroom at their elementary school in the province of Taytay, Rizal . The school grounds were built on a former garbage dump site and have no drainage so it is constantly flooded with water.


Sri Lanka  In Sri Lanka, this group of schoolgirls walk across a plank between the walls of the 16th-century Galle fort everyday to get to school. There is a lack of quality infrastructure and unequal access to education in Sri Lanka. Civil conflict and the 2004 tsunami has made getting an education even tougher. In areas of the island nation, such as the central highlands, it’s common for girls to work long hours for low wages instead of getting a proper education. This results in a serious literacy gap.

Shengji county, Bijie city, China In China, school children have to walk through mountain ranges to get an education. Kids walk in a straight line on an extremely steep cliff to get to Banpo Primary School in China. The school is in Shengji county, Bijie city, in the province of  Guizhou and it takes about five hours for the students to get there. The headmaster and math teacher Xu Liangfan leads the kids to the school which is half way up the mountain. The narrow path the students are walking along was carved from cliffs over 40 years ago. It is the only route between Gengguan village, where they live, and the school.

Kosovo In Kosovo, students have to walk miles and cross the frozen Batllava Lake on their way to school. After weeks of bad weather, students in the village of Orllan are finally able to go to school. However, if they want to get there, they have to cross this frozen lake which is very risky. Temperatures are normally below zero during the winter months adding another element for danger to their journey.

Bassi Kalan Village , India  Flooding is a common and inconvenient problem in some parts of India. These primary school boys in India carry their school benches to a drier spot after their school was flooded. The school is located in Bassi Kalan village in the outskirts of Jammu. These impromptu moves cause student to travel far to go to school and is the reason why India has the largest illiterate population in the world.

Toronto  Canada can see some pretty serious snow storms. Outside of Toronto, two students are dwarfed by power towers, and fight against a powerful winter storm to get to school. Severe winter storms often surprise the residents. Snow storms can dumped up to 50 centimeters of snow. The temperatures, as you can imagine, can get bitterly cold as well. It makes you wonder why they don’t cancel school on days like this.

Cario, Egypt In Cairo, Egypt, students have a long journey home. To cut the time it takes to make they trip they hitch a ride on the back of a trucks to get home from school. This isn’t the best way to get to their destination because the drivers sometimes don’t know they are on their car. It can be groups of five or more children on one truck. Their school is located in Ibsheway el-Malaq village in Gharbia governorate, about 103 miles from where they live in the northeast of Cairo.

Kasmiri, India  Children in Kashmiri, India cross a makeshift footbridge built over a stream in India to get to school. The original footbridge was damaged during a storm and has been replaced by planks and tree branches that stretch to the other end of the stream. Children have to cross this bridge going to and coming from school. One wrong step and the children can be swept away in the stream below.

Afghanistan Afghanistan was not the ideal place to go to school for the past few years. Afghanistan was crawling with U.S. soldiers and Afghan terrorist group have made this country a war zone. That still doesn’t stop children from walking the streets to get to school. Everyday, school children risk their lives to get an education. Some even forfeit their education to join the fight.

Zhang Jiawan Village, China In the Zhang Jiawan village in southern China, school children have to scale huge rock  using unsecured wooden ladders during their journey to school. The latters are not on an angle and go straight up, making the climb very steep. Children as young as five years of age make the journey to school. The only alternative, the children have is to make a four-hour cross country detour.

Zankar, India  On the eastern half of the Indian state Jammu and Kashmir is the city of Zankar. Zankar is a high altitude semi-desert lying on the Northern flank of the Great Himalayan Range. Children who live here have to battle ice and freezing temperatures as they trek through the mountains on their way to boarding school. Increased tourism here has helped finance schools but the children still have to risk their lives to them.

Lebak, Indonesia  In Lebak, Indonesia children have to cross a suspension bridge to get to school. It gave out only hanging on by one hand rail with many of the planks missing. That did not stop the kids there from going to school. They simply figured out a way to cross the damaged bridge. After pictures like the one above were widely circulated, Indonesia’s largest steel producer, PT Krakatau Steel built a new bridge to ensure that the students crossed safely.

Columbia In one part of Colombia, kids use an 2625 foot steel cable suspended 1312 feet above the ground, to cross the Rio Negro River on their way to school. This is the worst way for a child to get to school. School Children as young as six grab on to the cables for dear life and shimmy and swing to the other end while carrying their books and backpacks. It is an extreme risky way to get an education.

Cilangkap Village, Indonesia Students from the Cilangkap Village in Indonesia don’t have a bridge to get over the river to get to school. The school children here have to ride a makeshift bamboo raft to cross the Ciherang River on their way to school. There is only one raft that is used by everyone in the village to get across the river. The raft is just sturdy enough for a few people to get on at a time.


Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia Padang is the largest city on the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It is also home to Andalas University. Students make it a mission to attend this university, but just getting to grade school and high school is a challenge. Students in Padang, Sumatra ,Indonesia use a tight rope to cross 30 feet above a river on their walk to school. Balancing themselves on the the rope is a life or death situation that these children face daily.


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