When most of us think of daily struggles, what we’re thinking of is having to get up early in the morning to go to work,colleagues we hate or generally stuff that’s not exactly a big deal in the larger picture. That’s not to say that those problems aren’t exasperating but, they’re #firstworldproblems. Venture into the heart of India and you’ll come face to face with what hardship looks like. Take the little girls in the tiny Rahata Village in Chattisgarh, who had to cross an entire dam reservoir in makeshift tin boats every single day to reach their school several kms away.
For years, going to school was something parents in the village had to prepare and make boats for, as you can’t exactly choose to swim across a goddamn dam (if you will). The journey isn’t just tedious, it’s also dangerous, as these boats are hardly made keeping the top-quality standards of boat-making in mind.
It wasn’t just the students, either; their native village is so remote and cut off from civilisation that the villagers had to make and maintain tin boats to buy even daily essentials from nearby towns. Of course, a more permanent solution would be for the government to build bridges, roadways and other infrastructure necessities to make the village more accessible to the nearest town, though knowing how that works (or, doesn’t), it’ll be a while till that happens. In the meantime, though, Kiran Kaushal – a collector from Balod district – is doing her part in helping the villagers cross the dam more safely.
She has provided the village with a motorboat and plenty of life jackets to atleast make the daily journey a bit less perilous, and the administration has been helping the village maintain that arsenal ever since. They’ve also given them two home guards who’re on duty on the motorboat at all times, because swimming across a huge water reservoir is hardly the biggest danger to the people making that trip every day.
Of course, the maintenance of a motorboat isn’t exactly cheap, as the villagers pointed out to her before asking her for simple, low-maintenance rowboats, though the expense for maintenance is completely being borne by the administration till now.
That’s not to say that their request for new boats isn’t being taken seriously; new fiberglass boats are well on their way to give the villagers a more sustainable way of crossing the river. While we maintain that the local government could do much more to alleviate the villagers’ problems than just making their difficult journey to civilisation a tiny bit easier, Kaushal has made sure that bureaucratic barriers to that don’t hamper the education and day-to-day needs of the natives of the village in the meantime.
We first heard about this here.