School journey: Follow Sarvan through India's Thar Desert

Story and Photos by Daniel Mung, Communications, World Vision India

“I get up at 5am every morning, fetch water from our well, and take a bath."

Sarvan, 10, is in sixth grade and lives in a small hamlet with only 40 other families. There are no accessible roads to their hamlet.

"I eat breakfast and head off for school which is about one and half hours walk from my home." He is eating a usual typical breakfast of Bajra roti [Indian flat bread made from millet] with milk.

Sarvan walks to school with his friends. This group of 8 to 10 children from the hamlet leaves home to walk to school by 7am.

“In the mornings, if anyone from our group does not come, then we all make it a point to go to the home to check on the absentee."

“Nearly every day I get feet burns walking in the sand as it gets heated up during the afternoons. There are also times when I bleed from my nose due to the heat." Almost all the children can only afford wearing sandals to school.

Sarvan drinks water from the community water-tank along the way. “On a sunny day, we walk by the shade of the tree and take breaks along the way. The most difficult part is when we walk back home after school during peak noon time."

Sarvan and his friends have to cross through three barbed wire fences along the way to school every day. The fence prevents animals from eating the crops that the villagers grow after the rains.

Students normally remove their shoes before entering the school campus.

Sarvan in the classroom. “I usually stay back for one to two hours and study after school as electricity has not yet reached our home." He aspires to be more educated than his parents who could not afford to go to school and become a doctor to help the sick and poor in Rajasthan.

 

Sarvan plays local games with his friends under the shade of their favourite tree on their way home from school.