For many children and their parents, crossing the street to catch the school bus is perhaps the riskiest part of the school run. Yet, for many others school is something that is hard earned and not easily accessed. Today, going to school has become increasingly important for children across India – girl and boy, rich and poor, abled and disabled, and they are willing to muster the courage and strength to get there no matter what. The right to education never came with the promise that a child’s journey to school would be safe. A blind spot, perhaps? Yet, a journey to school determines many things.. will a child miss school today, drop out or never see the inside of his classroom? Here’s a look at images that reflect the lengths children would go to to get to school, the value they place on receiving an education and the daily fight they take on to fulfil their most basic right. In overcrowded vehicles, on horse backs, through hilly terrain, across rivers and lakes, over nearly collapsed bridges, amid armed conflict and in some instances even balancing on tight ropes, children around India face serious obstacles in making their daily journey to school.
When your school in tucked away in the Zanskar mountain range, Himalayas, children have no choice but to hike to school.
Uncomfortably jammed in an autorickshaw, children in Ahmedabad make their way to school.
Photo: Amit Dave/ Reuters
Children use a bridge, made of the roots of a giant tree, to get to school in the remote parts of India.
Against the river currents, determined girls in Gujarat wade through water, carry their books, papers and a change of clothes to fulfil their education.
When your village goes under water every year, going to school becomes a daily hazard in flood-hit villages of Assam.
Students use a wooden boat, the only means of transport available in Thanga, Manipur, to cross Loktak lake to get to school.
A boy on a wheelchair is pushed by his brothers for miles before they reach school.
Children of Bendse village, Maharashtra, walk on a tightrope to reach school everyday.
Ever done the balancing act to get to school? That’s what children in Kashmir need to do when the footbridge gets damaged due to rains.
Photo: Danish Ismail/ Reuters
School children go through the Makrana forest in a Maoist region of Chhattisgarh, a day after brutal killing.
Horse carting (and hanging) to school in Delhi.
Clinging on to brass pots as they swim across a river in Gujarat to school every morning.
Balancing on a bridge in Delhi due to traffic filled roads to make it to school on time.
Students of a Govt school in the tribal belt of Gujarat walk through forests, two hillocks, and cross three water canals to get to school.
When all else fails, some ‘make’ provisions to get to school.