We are so lucky.
When we consider our own school lives and working conditions, it’s always worth pressing the pause button and putting things into perspective.
You might have it tough, or think you do but then there are some places in the world that make you stop and think twice.
Here’s one such place – it’s a desert school located in the Little Rann of Kutch and it’s just a tiny hut. The pupils at this school are the children of salt workers or Agariya people.
The Agariya children start working in the salt fields from an early age because generational poverty and lack of schools in the Rann of Kutch offer few chances for them to educate themselves.
The salt workers have a really tough life and live in the desert for 8 months between October to May enduring extreme cold and heat. The earth is cracked and the horizon bare. Then comes the monsoon which destroys their homes and forces them to leave the desert – then they come back and start all over again.
India is one of the major producers of salt accounting for 7.8% of world’s salt production. Salt is produced in India by solar evaporation of sea/ sub-soil/ inland brines. India is the third major salt producing country in the World after China and USA.
Chavan and Rajyaguru (2016) give us a small taste of what life is like for the salt workers and their children,
The working conditions followed in Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat are highly primal and involves intensive physical labour, in very hot and gusty conditions for most part of the day. Most workers have problems connected to eye sight due to reflections of sunlight from the salt crystals. The labourers get into the saltpans in the dawn; the children are left behind devoid of any support or care. It can be broadly pragmatic among children skin infections, running nose, and symptoms of malnutrition.
This school is surrounded by absolutely nothing – it’s in the middle of nowhere. Here’s the thing, this is a way of life and many accept this as such and work without complaint.