Hate taking the bus to school? Try swimming! Indian students cross the Heran River to return home after attending school at Sevada village in Narmada District of Gujarat state, India (AP photos)
Hate taking the bus to school? Try swimming!

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It's a long, wet journey to school for 61 teenagers in part of western India. If they want to learn, they have no choice but to swim.

The boys and girls carry books, papers and changes of clothing in plastic bags or buoyant jugs as they cross the Heran River, shoulder deep in places. Parents or other adults sometimes accompany them on the 50-foot swim.

The girls put on their dry clothes in a small changing room, while the boys change on the riverbank.

The students then walk up to 3 miles to their high school in Gujarat state's Narmada District. It's shorter and quicker than the alternative. A road with a bridge takes a circuitous, 16-mile route. There's no public transportation.

The students say the swim is worth it for an education that can help lift them out of poverty in India, where at least 700 million people are living on less than $1.25 a day.

The Utavali High School principal said the students from the villages across the river are so determined to get to class, they have swum the river during heavy rain that made the currents more tumultuous.

The school is trying to accommodate them by forgiving late arrivals, and sending them home early if the weather is bad.

"We have asked for a bridge time and time again," Principal Rajendra Purohit said.

Critical thinking challenge: Why are the teens so eager to learn? Is it because they love swimming to school?

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Assigned 101 times

  • matiasherreralopez
    11/16/2014 - 11:06 p.m.

    61 teenagers have to swim to get to school in a part of Western India. They do not have public transportation, so it is their only way to arrive to school. They worth a lot their education, because their idea is to lift out the poverty in which they live.
    It is really moving, comparing the Indian reality, and our reality. We always complain about small things that we have to do, and we are never in agreement with things we have day by day. Sometimes, this kind of things make us realize everything we have, things that surround us, but we never pay attention on that, because we use to pay attention to fool things. Some aspects of our life that make us be ungrateful, and dissatisfied.

  • karlytorres
    12/19/2014 - 01:06 p.m.

    I would honestly love to swim to school. I love swimming so I guess for me it would be easy and fun. Swim to school do not take a bus.

  • raevynj-Koc
    1/12/2015 - 12:09 a.m.

    I find these 61 kids to be very inspirational and teens in the U.S could learn from them. Here in the U.S school is like a punishment and many kids don't want to go some go as far as dropping out. We take our education for granted ditching while these kids are swimming for an education.

  • ianv-Fit
    2/10/2015 - 09:15 p.m.

    In response to the question, I think they cross the river for school to simply ensure they have a better life. It wouldn't even make a difference if there was a bridge over the river or not. In India, 70 million people are living in poverty because they are only making $1.50 per day. If students were to apply their knowledge outside of school, they could get a great job. And of course, this means they will have a big enough income to avoid living In poverty. It all starts with that one river crossing.

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