It was recently reported by the Office for National Statistics in the UK that the proportion of children going to school by car rose from 27% to 43% from 1997 to 2008. The NHS Change 4 Life programme says 41% of children are being driven to school despite the fact that the average distance to primary schools remains at just over 1 mile. None of the parents of Mala children have cars so that is not a problem for us, but they do have extreme weather conditions. In summer it can reach over 40c and then there is the monsoon period.
Mukesh Dubey, our Senior Teaching Officer, carried out a survey amongst Mala children to see how far our children had to walk to get to a Project Mala school. Even he was surprised to find that almost 300 of our 920 primary school children were walking over 3 kilometers (6 km round trip) and 20 children came from over 7 km away.
Project Mala - long walk to school
Even more surprising is that 127 of them have no shoes and walk barefoot, (see below). Even those that do have shoes can't use them in the monsoon period because of the mud. See a short video of the children coming to school by clicking the arrow on the picture on the left.
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