Published: 23rd October 2017
Bridging the gap: These slums kids built a path for children so that they reach school ALIVE
After the slum lost one of their children to flooded drains, the youth took this initiative to build a makeshift bridge using wooden logs
The daily walk to school is nothing short of a treacherous journey for these slum children in Marthahalli who hail from the north-eastern states. The parents refuse to send them to school whenever a drain near their slum overflows after rains. Only earlier this week, a few youths from the slum got together and built a makeshift bridge to help the children reach their school safely.
Over 700 people, mostly labourers from West Bengal, Assam and other north-eastern states, live in the slum situated close to big apartment complexes and a rajakaluve in Munnenakolala in Marthahalli. The locality houses many upscale apartment complexes and IT companies. Children of the slum dwellers have to walk about 2 km to reach school, but a big worry for the parents is that they have to cross a drain where a boy had lost his life earlier this year.
Gauging the danger, a few living in the slum have built a temporary bridge using wooden logs so that the school-going children and others can cross the drain. Tutan, a co-ordinator with Samridhdhi Trust, which runs a school for the underprivileged, is supervising the progress every day to make sure the children cross safely when they are headed to school and back home.
In March this year, Shamir Ulla (5), son of Pintu Ulla, was washed away in the drain while he was playing cricket with his older brother. Since then, whenever it rains, the children were never sent to school as the drain overflows.
Pankaj, who was one of the youths, who helped build the makeshift bridge, said, "We are yet to overcome the shock of Shamir Ulla's death. We request the authorities concerned to take some steps in the interest of our children and women.''
Tutan said, "There are about 80 children here who study at our school and whenever it rained, none would attend school. After this arrangement was made, students are attending classes. However, the bridge is very low and it is still risky. Even now, the water level in the drain rises between 10 am and 2 pm as water is discharged unscientifically from the apartments located here. The drain joins Varthur lake," he added.
Akbar, a ragpicker, says, "I do not want our children to do my job. Let them get a good education and lead a good life. I am ready to spend any amount for their education." He says that he spends Rs 16,000 every year for the education of his child which he says is huge money. His son studies in a private school.
Varthur Corporator Pushpa G M told Express, "I will visit the place on Friday and direct the officials to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of the people."