The Long Road to Education

Avatar Student, VOY Intern
Kyay Mon
Member since November 16, 2015
  • 11 Posts
  • Age 23

Photo Credits: Larisa Koshkina

Photo Credits: Larisa Koshkina

In the past few days, many of my friends shared a video on Facebook about a train station in a remote area of Japan that remains open for just one regular passenger. The passenger is a high-school girl who goes to school every day on that train. According to the video, the train station will close down in March this year when the girl graduates.

Initially, several news outlets reported that the Japanese railway company planned to close down the station three years ago but waited until the young girl’s graduation. However, later reports have emerged that the news may have been “romanticized”. With the end of Japanese fiscal year in March, the decision to close the railway station after the girl’s graduation might not have been intentional but just a coincidence.

Whether this story has been exaggerated or not, the fact remains that the young girl is able to use the train service to go to school until she graduates. However, other children in poorer and less developed countries than Japan are not that lucky.

All around the world, many children have to make long and dangerous journeys to attend school. Conflicts, natural disasters and lack of infrastructure hinder their access to education.

Children living in areas of conflict and violence have to navigate their way through unexploded mines and bombs to reach school, putting their lives at risk.

For those whose homes are in remote areas where a road or a bridge is their sole mean of transportation, floods and earthquakes can take away their only mean of access to education.

Sometimes, a lack of infrastructure such as roads is the reason why many children drop out or cannot go to school. This is especially true for poor ethnic minorities in my country, Myanmar, who live in mountainous regions and villages far away from more developed cities. Since transportation costs to school are very high, parents might decide not to send their kids to school at all.

While doing research for this blog post, I came across a photo exhibition called “Journeys to School” by Veolia Transdev in partnership with UNESCO and SIPA PRESS. It documents the challenging journeys to school braved by children around the world.

One of the photos shows an 11-year-old girl from Libya making her way to class past two towering tanks. Another shows children in Brazil going to school on mules. Others show challenges to education faced by refugees, ethnic minorities and nomadic societies.

After seeing these photos and reading various articles online, I am very much amazed and inspired by the courage and dedication of these children and their families towards education.

Here, you can read the story of a girl from Myanmar who has to walk 30 minutes along a muddy road and another 1.5 hours by boat to go to school. Why go to school when the journey is that arduous? Her parents believe that education is the key to a better future. That I think, is exactly the reason why many children around the world are taking the long way to schools. Because they believe that it will lead them away from poverty and towards a future where their dreams can come true.

Sometimes, we tend to take our education for granted. It is only when we learn about the stories of brave children who are fighting against all odds for their education that we appreciate the value of what we have.

Today, we live in a world that boasts of fast and easy access to information.

Shouldn’t we also make fast and easy access to schools our priority?

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