While most of us spent half our childhoods trying to find ways to avoid going to school, parents in Vietnam are going to extreme lengths just to help their children access the education they deserve.
Villagers in Huoi Ha village are risking their lives by placing children in giant plastic bags and swimming across the Nam Chim stream to get their children to school, according to reports in Vov.vn.
During the dry season, children can rely on makeshift bamboo bridges to cross the stream. However, during rain season, they often have to resort to rafts to get from A to B, but if the rapids are too strong, they can easily get swept away.
That means the only way left to get over the river is to swim, which means risking their life. Fathers in the area have come up with their own solution in a bid to safeguard their children, by putting them in huge plastic bags and carrying them from one side to the other as they swim.
As reported by Vov.vn, Vang A Po chairman Na Sang Commune said:
We have warned local residents of latent risks to travel through the stream by plastic bags, but the swift-flowing water can also sweep rafts away, so they have to choose this way. Earlier, a local person was injured in a capsized raft here.
Nguyen Minh Phu, chairman of Muong Cha District, claims the plastic bag trick is common in the area, however he insists villagers only use this method when the stream is high and it is unsafe to pass by the bridge.
Sadly, once the families have made it across the water, the journey to school is far from over as they’re forced to walk for five hours through a slippery terrain. School children usually stay for the week before returning home again on the weekend.
It’s terrifying to know the lengths people are forced to go to just to get an education – an important one to remember next time your kid says they don’t want to go to school.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.