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Children brave flooded river to reach school

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Kapilvastu, September 14, 2016: From the moment she sends off her children to school till they return home safely in the evening, Sita Rana of Simalpani in Arghakhanchi can’t stop worrying. She never forgets to pray for her children’s safety as they leave home for school braving a highly precarious route.

“It is not easy for us to send our children to school knowing that they have to take a dangerous route each day. That leaves us deeply worried each day,” she said.

Every parent in Simalpani-1 battles this fear as they send their children to school.

Over 60 children of Bikram Village of the ward are forced to take the risky journey just to enjoy their basic right to education.

They have to cross the Banganga River to reach Pawara Bikram High School in the next village. There is no bridge connecting Bikram village with the neighboring Pawara, forcing the children to swim across, sometimes fighting strong currents and floods.

“We get even more anxious when it rains,” said Nabina Sharma, another local parent.

There is a primary school in Bikram village that has classes up to third grade. However, in lack of high school there, the children have no choice but to cross the often treacherous river to reach their school.

Although electricity reached the two rural villages only recently, the locals are still deprived of other basic facilities and infrastructures.

The villages are just about eight kilometers north from Kapilvastu.

“Our difficulties grow during monsoon,” said Gopal Rana, an eighth grader. “Although there is a suspension bridge, we have to take the longer route, extending our travel by two hours,” he added.

Local Development Officer (LDO) Laxmi Pandey Gautam acknowledged the risks faced by children. “Unfortunately, we do not have the required budget to build a bridge.

“Bridge construction can be carried out only by the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure as it requires a lot of budget,” added LDO Gautam.

By Kiran Man Bajracharya