An estimated 21 million elementary school-aged children in Asia and the Pacific don’t attend school, according to UNESCO. Sometimes just getting there is the hard part.
Sometimes the main roadblock to education in developing countries isn’t a lack of teachers, books, or classrooms – it’s the trek from home to school. Follow these students on their journeys for education on foot in India, by bike in Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, across moving water in Vietnam, on horseback through Indonesia, and more.
Photo above: At day break, a girl in China hikes a mountain path on her two-hour journey to school.
India: Desert trek
Sarvan, 10 (pictured below), is in sixth grade. Because there is no road to their village, Sarvan and his friends leave for school at 7 a.m. to beat the heat — the desert sand they walk on can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. They also must cross three barbed-wire fences on their journey. To break up the 90-minute walk home after school, the group usually stops to rest and play games.