Determined to Get Education
A few girls travel on foot at least 20 kms every day. Clad in a traditional green bordered mekhala chadar, the traditional Assamese woman’s attire, Krishna Das is one of them. She has been doing so for the last four years, from the time she joined the government school in Sualkuchi. There are no government schools in many villages in the Chandrapur block, and Krishna belongs to one such village. The nearest school is at least a few kilometers away, the Sualkuchi Kali Ram Karikar Girls High School is among them.
Krishna’s village is on a small hillock on the banks of the Brahmaputra River. She says, 'There are no motorable roads and hence no vehicles can reach the village. The situation has been the same, as far as I can remember." The rains add to their list of woes, sometimes making it difficult to even venture out of the village. The 9th Standard, "The paths become slushy because of which we cannot even come to school and many others can’t go out for work."
It was only a year ago, that the village got water supply until which time they depended on natural sources of water. Only a part of village has been lucky to receive electric connections, the other parts still remain in the dark. Krishna says, "We have been used to the hardships living in the village and hence walking 10 kms at a stretch has never been an issue." It takes about 50 minutes for her to reach the school every day.
Krishna’s father is a fisherman and a weaver. Her mother helps the father in weaving, but Krishna was never inclined towards it. She says, "I never wanted to learn weaving even though it is beautiful. I want to get a good job which promises a regular income, after I finish my studies." Krishna’s parents have high regards for education and have encouraged both their children to continue their studies, in spite of living in a remote village where even the basic necessities are not met. Krishna’s brother studies in the 12th Standard.
The mid-day meal helps children like Krishna sustain until they reach home in the evenings. Because the meal is served every school working day, they say, they aren't hungry until late evening and when dinner is a just a hour or two away.
Krishna is waiting for her friends to join her. They all walk back to Chandrapur together. She says,"I want Chandrapur to be connected by roads, have facilities like government schools and hospitals. At this point it may appear to be a wishful thinking, but I hope it will soon come true."