Black pants. Sky blue skirt. This is their School dress. They were returning back home from school with bag on their back in a hot summer day. Half a dozen of children with shirt tied up in their head to beat the heat were gearing up to cross the river viawire tied above the river. Among them one was putting off the bag. The length of the wire above the river is more than 50 meters long. He tied an iron hook instantly which looked like domestic material made up of wood content called “tanlo” (looking something like a hook) in a local language. He started to cross the river tightening the hook with bag on his waist.
This is a daily routine of 12-year-old Mahesh Kami of Chiurebari, Sipti -8. He is a handsome with a toned body, studying in class 3. He could not join school in his early age because of the difficulty in crossing river to reach school. He might miss books in his bag but the same iron hook will always be with him that he uses to go to school. The iron hook must always be a carried in the absence of bridge. There are almost 20 students who travel like him to reach school. It takes more than half an hour to reach school. However, the risk is to taken. Childrens of Sipti attends the Deep Jyoti primary school of Chiurebagar, Dhuligad. School in Sipti which is even farther to go.
A girl had to lose her life falling from the wire while returning back from school last year, said one parent, Prem Sing Thagunna. They have demanded to construct temporary bridge but no one is taking initiation, he added. Though the VDC falls under Sipti, it is easy for the general public to work and attend school in Dhuligadi if the bridge is constructed and that is why there has been a demand for the construction of bridge, he said. Sunmati Kami, one of the parents said that it is their compulsion to send their children to the school via iron hook as there is no option. “The water flow in the river is low in winter but it is fearful to send children school in rainy season.’- She said. She expressed her anxiety in failure of construction of the bridge despite of constant demand.
Technical assistant Ramesh Raj Bhatta of Dhuligada VDC said that the village council has been informed about the condition. However,the demand is not considered yet showing various excuses- he said. The survey for the construction of the bridge has been completed this year. The area lies on Sipti VDC, and the services are received from Dhuligada, locals said. Almost 10, 15 families receive health care; inoculate childrens from Dhuligada which shows the necessity of bridge, said Bhatta.
Nepal’s constitution has ensured education under the fundamental rights of the citizen but such risky situation has deprived the children of Sipti from getting education. This situation must be brought to an end. Childrens are not being able to attend school in time because of unavailability of bridge. It is a matter of shame that government has not been able to construct even a temporary bridge despite of children losing their life. The government should create a favorable environment for children to attend school by constructing the bridge at the same time making their life easy.
11 years old Dev singh Thagunna along with him was getting ready to cross the river. Majority of children with the same age group studies in grade 1, 2 and 3.They have to carry iron hook together with their books and copies. . Those who cannot cross the river are helped by their parents. Parents send their children to schools only when they becomes young and capable enough to cross the river using iron hook.
Narendra singh Karki