By Bullock Cart, Phut-Phut and Boat
|If you thought school meant sedate brick buildings and yellow school buses, wander through *Going to School in India* and you will get a new respect for the struggles some children go through to get an education. You see children in diverse parts of India traveling to school in all sorts of contraptions – auto rickshaw, bullock carts, and in Ladakh, on wooden swings over choppy rivers.
You see them going to school in vallams across the backwaters of Kerala, crossing on shaky rope bridges in Nagaland, and by spluttering chakoras or phut-phuts in Gujarat. You see children go to school in wheelchairs – and the ones who do not. In fact, 98 percent of disabled children in India do not go to school. You see them studying out in the open, by solar lantern in the dark, and for some, school is a stationary bus.
The book is a labor of love for Lisa Heydlauff, who now calls India home. A teacher in England, she has now lived in India for seven years. The idea for the book came when one of her students in London asked her, “What must it be like to go to school in India?”
“We think we must have visited over 1,000 schools, it took nine months of continuous travel across India to find the stories, with lots of help from great people who gave good directions,” she says. “Word of mouth was the key. It then took another two years to design and publish the book.”
She says she found that, no matter where they are, children love the idea of school and its potential, ” I learned that children know how they would change their schools to make them places children want to be, we only have to ask.”