Children’s amazing journeys to school featured in documentary film
Every day, around the world, children embark on incredible journeys just to get to school. For them there is no easy stroll to a school bus stop - or an air-conditioned ride in a parent's car. Some walk for miles. Others scale mountain paths or cross dangerous bridges. Many take boats or ride animals to reach their classrooms. These daily journeys were the inspiration for a documentary film which is about to be released in the United States. On The Way To School tells the stories of four children who know that education is the pathway to a brighter future.
Samuel, 11, from India, who is pushed in a makeshift wheelchair for more than two miles a day by his brothers. He hopes to become a doctor.
Zahira, 12, from Morocco, who walks and hitchhikes almost 14 miles through mountains. She also wants to be a doctor.
Jackson, 10, from Kenya, who dodges armed gangs and elephants as he runs nine miles to school with his six-year-old sister. He dreams of becoming a pilot.
Carlito, 11, from Argentina, who rides a horse 11 miles each morning. He wants to become a vet.
Director Pascal Plisson was inspired by seeing three children running to school on a blisteringly hot day in Kenya. He said: “I’ve been travelling around the world for a long time, seeing kids struggling to get to school in a lot of countries. It was very important to do this movie because I could show very simply how kids are struggling to go to school and the motivation they have.”
The film was made with the support of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the non-governmental organisation Aide et Action.
It was originally released in 2013 and broke box office records for documentary films in France and Italy. Last month it was shown to an audience at the United Nations. Now it is about to be screened in New York from February 6. And a spin-off TV series of 10 other stories will be shown in France.
Pascal said: “When we show this movie in Kenya, for example, they (government ministers) realise that they have a lot of work to do for a kid like Jackson to access school, not to have to run and risk his life every morning and every night. So they will build boarding schools.”
Oscar-winning actor-director Forest Whitaker said of the film: “As we watch the different paths these children take to go to school, their transformative journeys become ours and we are reminded that education is a treasure that our families and communities nurture within us, sometimes at a great sacrifice because they do trust that the future can be a better place than the present. “