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  • All over the country children are dropped to school by bus, rickshaws or bikes. Many walk to school. But in a village called Khadivli in Maharashtra things are different. Here students have to swim across the Bhatsa river to go to school.

    Anxious parents wait on the banks of the river when school closes. The children strip down to their underwear, put their clothes and satchels in a plastic bag, and holding the bags up high, swim across the river.

    The parents are concerned because sometimes the currents are quite strong. The villagers say that it is not always safe. They speak of those who succumbed to the currents. Just last year, they tell us, a 12 year old boy was swimming across after the Independence Day function in his school. He was holding a flag in his hand. He didn't want the flag to get wet so he held it aloft. But the river didn't care about such sentiments and took him away.

    There is a road that involves a journey of over 25 kilometres to the school but no public transport. The village headman says that since there is no state transport, the choice is between taking risks and pursuing an education.

    Meanwhile the powers that be are unconcerned and feel that there aren't enough funds to build a bridge 'for just 500 people.' The Thane District Collector though has promised to look into the matter

    Until then the youngsters will have to brave the sometimes strong currents of the Bhatsa river to follow their dreams of getting a basic education.
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    photo: taken in Pattaya, Thailand.
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