Gutsy school children.

Gutsy school children. School children in Lebak, Indonesia cling perilously to a damaged rope bridge across the Ciberang river to get to school. Hopefully this publicity will mean that the bridge gets repaired quickly.

Reuters video in the link.


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146 Responses to Gutsy school children.

  1. ‘k, it was said that I had a dangerous road to school (got free bus ride), but I don’t think it can be compared …

  2. Graham Guy says:

    Kids in this country (mine included) would try to get off school if they missed the bus. I can’t imagine any of them braving something like this to get there. Impressive.

  3. And the kids in Lebak will all have terrific balancing skills by the time they leave school.

  4. Bobby Ryan says:

    That makes me mad as I feel there is nothing I can do but watch.

  5. There is a prime example of ‘Yearning for Learning”.

  6. What are doing the GREAT Islamists about?, prey, and discriminate women?.

  7. Rajini Rao says:

    And how we lucky few take common necessities of life for granted…

  8. simon o Maybe the pressure must come from abroad? Rajini Rao didn’t say that help from abroad was needed though.

  9. Rajini Rao says:

    simon o , this is a Reuters news one is implying that donations have to come abroad. Paul Flanders , I was referring to this statement in the article: Residents told Reuters they’re hoping the government will step up and fix the bridge, which was first built in 2004. “We hope the government will take immediate action on this matter as this bridge is used for daily activities, especially by school children..” Governments can be shamed into doing their jobs if their inadequacy is showcased to the rest of the world. I assume the school caters to a wide district..if the teachers went to the children in this particular area, what would the other children do? Cross the bridge as well?

  10. How lucky we are in so many ways –

    “Be glad that you are free, free to change your mind, free to go most anywhere, anytime” (Prince)

  11. Elkie Badli says:

    what i see here is how they keep up the spirit to get education and continue the life, and do you know because of this a person must circle 5km just to get across

  12. Rajini Rao says:

    Tapas Roy , yes, it is dangerous..the video shows some kids crying.

  13. Elkie Badli says:

    I hope the government can act quickly as the area is far from the town, heavy vehicle would meet difficulties to enter the area or even worse making more damage to the villages, meanwhile hope they can provide safer way to get across such as raft or even crossing boat….

  14. Srikanth M.I says:

    incredible humans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????

  15. my first thought when seeing this was similar to simon’s… why would the people allow this? when we reach a state where every peril and danger in life causes us to wait for government to fix it, we have fallen to the depths of totalitarianism. my hope, is that there is more to this picture… that the people aren’t waiting for government to fix it, but there are armed gangs or some political force that would threaten the people if they saw them build such a bridge.

  16. Rajini Rao says:

    Frank Graffagnino , you and simon o raise a good point, but since I am not an engineer, it is impossible for me to evaluate what sort of heavy equipment, skills and materials would be needed even for a simple rope bridge. That river could be dangerously swift, and perhaps small boats are not even an option. May be someone on G+ could comment on the engineering ability required to repair a bridge like this.

    My other thought is this: it is easy for those who have everything available to us to assume that people can just help themselves. But it’s more complicated..for example, why don’t poor or under privileged minorities in my country (US) just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get an education, etc.? Because, they come from such staggeringly unequal conditions, it is not even in their psychological set up to think that they can do it too. I’ve seen this often in my field of academic research. Compared to my kids, for example, who are lucky to have confidence and resources to attempt anything. Just a thought..

  17. Matt Morales says:

    The sad thing is that we are so used to our commodities, that we do not know that is what those kids face everyday. We may be saying, “oh, you poor thing!”, but really, they are used to it, they are used to living in a dirt house, they are excited to actually go to school. We take so much for granted in our country, that is the reason we are backsliding.

  18. Rickie B says:

    Good work Rajini – a helpful use of the web – to get these kids some help – great work – well done – I will flash this over to friends. Rsj

  19. i couldn’t disagree more. people that help themselves don’t need to own heavy equipment, engineering skills, or big boats. If those items are the only way to do something, they would find help and find that equipment. If there is one thing i’ve learned it is that the resourceful find a way and the self-reliant will find the resources. This is not some elitism I am preaching. And I am CERTAINLY not saying there is not a role for government or helping others. I’m simply repeating the old adage, where there is a will, there is a way. I don’t know a single person in that country, or the parents of their children. But I can say, without a doubt, that if they decided what they wanted is a bridge for their children, they would get one. That may be via lobbying government, talking with some corporation, chopping down trees, or taking risks. But the flowchart of progress does not start with “I’m too small to change this” and then end with “wait till government provides it”. Again… I’m not trying to come off as some elite American, and you are right that I cannot fully comprehend all of the complexities that probably exist in that country. I am simply trying to state my reaction to seeing the picture, and it is not one that is angry at their government.

  20. Elkie Badli says:

    Rajini Rao Thank you for share and wake my humanity

    Matthew Morales I agree but just like us, they are deserves better tech and easier way to reach school

  21. Ragav rana says:

    thanks for this photo and keep it up

  22. Simon Gorham says:

    Reminds me to be thankful.

  23. I think people are missing the point here obviously the conditions where they live are bad. People probably have no way to build a bridge or I’m sure they would have. The government obviously doesn’t care and we all know how bad things can be in other countries. Those people I am sure are resourceful cause they have learned to survive under the worst conditions, so it’s obvious they need some outside assistance. We sit home in front of our laptops with our nice technology, in our comfy homes and give opinions that are sometimes not needed.

  24. Great way to put it hardmon daniels People who have never lived in developing countries just don’t understand.

  25. Ajay George says:

    survival of the fittest!

  26. Rajini Rao says:

    It’s a privilege to have a discussion with such a diverse group of people while maintaining such amazing respect for each other’s views. Thank you all so much for making the G+ forum so great, as Lucas Frib said, I’m learning and widening my world views every day.

  27. hte main idea is these kids value their education enough to risk their lives while a lot of inner city kids in this country try to learn something under chaotic conditions after 9 consecutive years of budget cuts to schools and a lot just disrupt the classes and wind up dropping out in high school. We score so poorly in math we have to import scientists and engineers from other countries who take their education very seriously. (I started teaching over 40 years ago and still sub in the inner city) The SAT scores peaked in 1963, before kids spent hours watching TV and playing computer games) went on the skids for 20 years and settled way below average for industrialized countries. We rank about 27th in achievement while we ranked first in 1963.

  28. My first impression was its just another 3D image… but in reality its too dangerous… Why wait for someone to bridge it? Cant they build boats to cross the river? I think building boat is the easiest thing they would already know… If I were there, the first thing I would have done is that…. May be the picture does not show more on what you said about the video but this is just a death bridge… like a death road… Building boat must be better even if they build the bridge its scary…

  29. Erik says:

    When you’re dirt poor, you have to be brave.

  30. those brave kids deserve better than that bridge to go to schooll

  31. Katy Davies says:

    Wow Rajini Rao this really puts into perspective how important education is. Kids and their parents literally risking injury every day, just to get to school. So often in the West we take such basic things for granted, this is a reminder that education is a privilege, not just a right and the importance of gratitude we should all cultivate. I really hope this bridge gets fixed soon, by local or governmental support, but I agree with hardmon daniels – general conditions must be extremely bad for them to have to face this situation every day.

  32. Arcz Angel says:

    part of training i guess to be in army when they get old! Damn You politicians!

  33. All I had to do was walk 2 minutes down an alley to get to school.

  34. Arcz Angel says:

    well in my time, before you get to school in our place 5km of walk in the sugar plantations before i get reach to my school, but image above is so depressing! school is not worth your life if you fell on the that ‘Resident Evil Bridge”

  35. Cole Carter says:

    Lets hope there are no crocadiles in that creek ..

  36. luke mason says:

    that wouldn’t help

  37. Jim Young says:

    Rajini, thank you for helping to bring this to the attention of Google + global community. George Roter Might this be a project for Engineers Without Borders? Children crossing a bridge like this just to get to school deserves our collective help.

  38. Rajini Rao says:

    Jim Young , thanks for a great suggestion! I know about Doctors Without Borders, and am delighted to hear that there are engineers who donate their time and skill as well.

  39. Rajani Rao+ You said it is Lebak in Indonesia. This reminds me of a place (as reprted in some TV News Channel in India. It was a single rope below and a rope to hold from Odisha.) People find ways to take away public money and put it some Eurpoean Bank, and …..

  40. luke mason says:

    as i said before go school kids

  41. i was so embrssed. what happend with my country

  42. Ricky Cash says:

    In my area some parents drive the car to the end of the driveway, and sit in the car with the heater going while waiting for the bus because it’s too cold for the child to be outside.

  43. haha we are raising students or stuntkidz

  44. Rajini Rao says:

    Dadang Triono , as some commentators have said, this can happen in any country. Even in the US, we still have not forgotten how we handled the Katrina hurricane disaster in the city of New Orleans. I agree that it’s a shame, in this day and age.

  45. Doug Brown says:

    They REALLY want to get to school!

  46. need to notify OSHA and ARMY engineering, they’ll fix it.

  47. actually its an opportunity for modern day photographers.. wish i wud b there…

  48. Pujiono JS says:

    The location of the bridge is not too far from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. There must be something worst somewhere outside the island of Java. My government must be ashamed of themselves that the news is now spreading to the world.

  49. Jake Perez says:

    And kids in America complain that waking up early for school sucks..

  50. Those poor kids. That’s so dangerous I hope someone fixes that bridge for them

  51. Nate Pullins says:

    This should be a lesson to American children about the need and the want to get an education. If kids in this country had such fortitude, there would be many more college graduates.

  52. Dadang Triono – I share your sorry feeling.

    It is happeining at many places. Just now on a News TV Channel from India, showed a report that Comptroller & Auditor General of India releasesd a report on National Rural Health Mission, stating in one state, amount of Rs.5700,00,00,000. has been not accounted for, during last six years. At present rate of exchange One US Dollar stands to some above Fifty Indian Rupees.

    Lot of pathetic condition at most places.

  53. I better not get complaints from my kids having to walk in the rain

  54. Georgi Kaua says:

    Cole Carter like you said let’s hope there NO CROCODILE down there, coz a 10years old Indonesian girl have been swallow by a crocodile official said…

  55. sometimes u gotta do whatcha gotta do

  56. luke mason says:

    i would never dare do that really brave they are

  57. seriously, get this repaired now!

  58. Mikel Giles says:

    Gotta say that when I was a kid that I would not have crossed that bridge to get to school but I would have crossed it after school or on Saturday just because it was exciting. Of course I would have crossed it after talking my little brother into testing to first LOL

  59. This is how some kids go to school in the Philippines,

  60. Wow, that is nuts! More exciting than riding the bus, but I hope they can repair it quickly.

  61. AHMED FOUAD says:

    i great with you for this rajini rao

  62. Rajini Rao says:

    Thank you, AHMED FOUAD . I guess that image struck a response in many people.

  63. Levon Parker says:

    Never again will I accept the “I walked 5 miles uphill both ways barefoot in the snow just to get to school” story. Sad, but it makes you grateful for the little things.

  64. So, why don’t some local adult males repair it?

  65. riffstrum says:

    see, thats what happens when bus drivers go on strike

  66. Rudy Aviles says:

    why fix, looks like fun. Life isnt fun without challenges 🙂

  67. Umm… Ah… Hey bro, your bridge is kinda broken… So, yeah… That’s kinda dangerous and there is like a kid on there too…

  68. Wab Wabolous says:

    I bet they all got wasted at one point and decided to wreck the bridge and then every day after that they’ve been like silently whispering to each other “why the fuck did we do that for?”.

  69. John Midkiff says:

    Seeing this just makes me think how much money we waste on things really of little value. Myself included.

  70. はい、インディアナジョーンズです。命がけです。つり橋は勘弁なのです。w

  71. That bridge looks like a one-way thing. I wonder how they get back…

  72. Where is Dr. Jones though all of this?

  73. josem mo says:

    If you’ve ever lived in some Asian countries similar like that, you will realize that the root of the problem is corruption.

    Government budgets that should be used for the construction of such damaged bridge, is (usually) corrupted by local gov officials.

    Corruption Index:

    Indonesia is granted billion of $ of foreign aids annually,

    –@2011$600 million from US gov (

    –Besides around $160 million from US gov annually (

    –Largest recipient from Australian aid, A$558 million @2011(

    –Japan aid $809 million @2011,(

    –More than $16 billion cumulative from Japan gov since 1966 (

    –Etc, from E.U., Middle East..

    Compare to this: Indonesian house repr. members are jetsetters, their cars: Crown Royal Saloon, Bentley, Hummer, … (

    Yes I’ve ever lived in a country similar to that country.

  74. Today people and kids complain and whine about going to school but what they dont realize is just what these kids go through everyday to go to school…..

  75. Betapa sedihnya potret bangsa kita ini,,, yang Kaya semakin Kaya dan yang Miskin semakin Miskin,,, 90 % Pemimpin bangsa ini adalah “Class pencari Makan” yang mereka pikirkan hanyalah perut mereka sendiri…. tak peduli dengan orang lain,,,,,,!!!

  76. mary hess says:

    This makes me feel guilty about cutting class…

  77. Rajini Rao Nice article- Thanks 🙂

  78. Clearly, these children need to learn that school is not that important.

  79. The first lesson of the day needs to be swimming lesson, and why don’t the parents take the initiative and build the kids a breach. It’s just the show society in all levels that nobody really wants to help each other. They would rather let their grandchildren fall into the river and learn to swim. They’ve been doing this sort of thing for years. So why not let them carry on. The only thing I hope is that bridge is not coming over to the UK.

    Oh dear what a nasty person I am. I think it is pretty tragic. I could show you some photographs of my Burnt out kitchen but I have 5 years ago and nobody helped me out. Am I a charity case to. I have less than them 5 years ago. Why don’t we just send them a pamphlet on how to build bridges to the school. You can see that that bridge had been built by themselves. Years and years ago. So why didn’t they just get together in maintaining their selves. I’m sure I have a really strong point on this.

    Okay what the hell I will join in and do the same. Please send all your cheques and postal orders to me and I will spend the money wisely.

    Why is it they always want handouts when they can actually go out there and do it themselves. If that was me I would be there chopping trees down and building a bridge myself. And getting people together to do it these people have got the skills are just too lazy.

    I am probably really going to get a good telling off this. Maybe somebody will be saying that I’m insensitive.

    But me as a British citizen but a percentage of my wages into the government and the government pays for things like this. The government in the European Union and they have to put out £7 billion a year for charities. And it has to rise up to 12,000,000,000 in the year… God knows when.

    So kind people send them some plans over how to make a rope bridge. Let them learn how to do it they have the skills.

    And I do hope the publicity does help get this road bridge all sorted out and built for them deeply down in my own mind yes I would love these young people to have a lovely rope bridge.

    and all the children to be able to get the school safely. And I would like all the children to be able to get to school safely on a minibus. I would also like all the children to have laptops and computers at schools so they can learn the education of the world. I also think that they should have good school meals and they should have an education that is 2nd to none.

    The education of life is that is exactly what they are receiving. They do or die.

  80. Why can’t there parents try fixing it before it got this bad I am willing to help but they must show willing and try to help them selves as well

  81. so you are telling me you let your kids walk across a bridge without leaving trying to fix it. My point is that they should work together and get it fixed they can see the problem but they’re all too lazy to get it done on talking about the bridge. It’s been like that for years so they should get it done

  82. James Mitchell interesting perspective, but do you suppose it might be a funding-related issues?

  83. you a good point. seniors who built the bridge in the first place they should be held responsible lol. Many years ago whoever built this bridge wanted to help these people. These people all they had to do was help maintain. So why didn’t they just maintain it. Is because society is selfish. So everybody has a comment on here but nobody is really offered to pay. Why don’t you all put your hands in pockets and centre money over to them. Find somebody on the Internet is willing to go over with if with a team of engineers using the money that has been generated from this advert. I’m sure there is a couple of engineers out there that would be Interested in going over and doing the job. I put my name down. (so come on who is going to be the treasurer) is there anybody trustworthy enough on here. Come on everybody put your pounds where you may stop. is another person on this site first did a post hats off to you and thank you for bringing it to everybody’s attention. So how much are you going to donate then.

    Why doesn’t somebody write a letter to Bill Gates, is is the one that would get you going. That’s it right a letter to Bill Gates and ask him to be the Treas and everybody send them money to him for the bridge.

    And then we can get a team of engineers together to go and fix the bridge. So your names down if you are an engineer and you just don’t Wanna go out there from holiday. And you truly want to fix this breach it’ll take about 2 weeks. Wanna go out there and make a lot of people happy.

    Write a letter to Bill Gates somebody do it. We have the power and somebody out there must have the connections.

    So what do you think the bridge like that would cost. What you think it would cost to send out a team of men and equipment. And maybe a helicopter to drop the stuff off in the rolling countryside out in the middle of nowhere. I’m sure we could land a helicopter on the school field.

    We did get in touch with the British Army. Do you think the British Army would help.

    I’m sure that the territorial Army would help they are looking for any excuse to have some training from one way or another.

    What about the Christian army. But people just put your hands in pockets and get in touch with somebody and get the job done. As this bridge will never be done or built.

    Somebody do something and then tell us on the post by the end of the week. Get in touch with Bill Gates, get in touch with anger from virgin. Write a letter to the Queen. Write a letter to your next door neighbour. And tell your next-door neighbour to write a letter to their next-door neighbour. This is the only way that you are going to manage to be done is if you tell everybody about it. But I’m sure somewhere in the world there will be another bridge worse than this. So are we going to develop a team of people to build bridges all over the world to help people. Well you know I think that is a very good idea. I think I’ve said enough about the subject now you also realise that yes I do agree this bridge needs to be fixed.

  84. Kapil Ranade says:

    Similar stories in many developing countries!

  85. similar stories in Visayas and Mindanao, Philippines.

    what are the local governments doing? this is what we inheret our children.

  86. Michael Pang says:

    well lets look at the bright side. they get more exercise

  87. my God? what on the earth do the kids have to suffer like that>

  88. Dio Adi says:

    Hello, i’m from Indonesia, and i would like to inform all of you here that the bridge is in the process of fixing. thank you for all of your sympathy here. Yes, my local goverment is so slow at responding to their public problems. My government is so corrupted. They need a media pressure like this to start even just a plan, and more time to do the realization.

  89. This is pretty common in Colombia, broken bridges and zip lines.

  90. I’m from Indonesia, and this photo is totally embarassing. Too bad I should admit that government (both national and local government) in here (and the legislators in House of Representatives also, ironically) are busy to spend billions of tax money only to buy air freshener for their buildings, build new government buildings, renovate toilets in government buildings, buy healthy vitamins for themselves, etc. I begin to think that they never care about their own people. Soo sad news.

  91. Iris B says:

    that is really sad

  92. agreed health and medicines to the needy should be made compulsary in india too which will make them stronger to undertake all these type of pressures here

  93. From what I have heard Rajini+, you are doing great work in your field.

    And you are doing a great service by pointing out how people overcome adverse conditions and still go high up.

    Thanks for taking up these causes…..

  94. Does this count as their Gym class?

  95. what bridge is this- no one care about it, they still waiting for someone to get accident and then that’s the time they will make action for it to fix this bridge.

  96. When that small kid in the front grows up, he can probably tell his children, “When I was your age, we tamed the river to reach the school, upstream both ways.”

  97. And their government is sure proud of there state of art fighter jets. How sad…

  98. Brigitte W. says:

    Here’s the deal: It’s not just Indonesian governments that need to be embarrassed by how they protect and serve their people. It’s everywhere. I could take a picture in virtually every country in the world of some horrible oversight that endangers others. The seemly endless amount of fat-cat politicians and middle management types know about these problems, yet overlook them. But hope exists. On some level, I am starting to see our cameras, computers, and willingness to share as tools to document, inform, and change the focus. When a picture like this hits home, outrage blooms beside shame. These emotions stir actions. Actions bring changes, subtle and radical. Through change, a country may redeem itself.

  99. Fortune favours the brave.

  100. Blanca Benz says:

    exciting bridge to go through ..

  101. quite dangerous but adventurous

  102. if you know how much it cost for a chair and a small room in the legislature in Indonesia ?…. cost up to Rp. 20 millyar

    and what happened to education in Indonesia, so as you see. Indonesian government only cares about personal affairs and his party would never care about the fate of the nation’s children and education.

  103. This post not only shows the intrest towards education but also the ignorance of the administration….!!!!!!!!!!! Something must be done…….!

  104. Danny Thesan says:

    Great courage and motivation to study

  105. luke mason says:

    hope that is repaired soon hope there is no crocs in that lake

  106. dro ard says:

    Here’s chlidren’s bullying by evil residence government.

  107. mada rina says:

    from this they will strive to change the situation for the better 🙂

  108. C K says:

    It makes me upset the kids have to walk to school like that! More people need to read this story so that this problem gets fixed soon.

  109. Rajini Rao says:

    Maria Luisa A , she was truly terrified in that video, as would I have been. Imagine how much the rope must swing with every movement. Her clothing does not give her much of a chance if she does fall in the water, does it?

  110. Thanks for sharing. When I see these kind of photos, I honestly dont know how to react. Its puts things in perspective for sure. I feel like a hypocrite since I am not able to do anything to change the situation. I spent the last 4 years living in India and recently relocated back. The first year, it was shocking to see people live and work in very dangerous situations, but them it quickly wore off..It says more about me and so much more about the human capabilities to survive in adverse situations. the link that Mohammed shared was equally disturbing. I dont know the language (I think it was in urdu or arabic), the photos were sufficient to show the courage of the folks…

  111. So what have you done to help those children, bridge, only sent off letters to Parliament added anything to contact anybody else, not just contacting people on this site but also have you tried to contact the government with letters and signatures from other people. I’m still waiting on offer still stands of what I said on your blog

  112. Dio Adi – Hello, i’m from Indonesia, and i would like to inform all of you here that the bridge is in the process of fixing. thank you for all of your sympathy here. Yes, my local goverment is so slow at responding to their public problems. My government is so corrupted. They need a media pressure like this to start even just a plan, and more time to do the realization.

    so what is your government address then you’re living in a country please tell us what your government addresses and I’m sure if you post it on here everybody on here will write a letter to the government this will do the difference is get the government involved let’s get your government involved.

  113. The media is not a so very nice way to fix problems. The one that gets attention gets the fix! How good is that? And this at the expense of that which is unknown and may be even more requiring attention.

    The third world needs to change and needs development. Striking issues at their roots is the way out.

  114. The other option is to move the school to the other side of the river then you would not need the bridge in the first place LOL

  115. was an excellent theories. But how are they going to move the school across the bridge,LOL it’s only just manages to hold the pupils.

    Seriously that is a good idea.

  116. I haven’t noticed that anybody has actually contacted their local government to get something done about this abysmal bridge.

  117. Somebody find out the address for Parliament, their local parliament and post the address so everybody can write them a letter on Facebook.

  118. Jose Islas says:

    Any word on if this was ever repaired?

  119. Rajini Rao says:

    Jose Islas , good question. I can search online. Hopefully, by now, it has!

  120. I hope they got it fixed to . I was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago I remember how flooding was so bad sometime that I would have no choice but to walk trough waist high water to get back from school .. oh not just once many time , it make u humble when u have to do things that no one else in other parts of the world would dare not let there kids do . We had no choice it was simple if u don’t cross the raging flood waters u don’t get home .. thank for the beautiful pictures. To me they show the heart of a people “”

  121. Rajini Rao says:

    vernon Rampersad , I grew up in Calcutta where the monsoons would be so heavy that the streets could be filled with waist high water in a few hours. Small school children would have to be manually carried in rickshaws. Thanks for the memories!

  122. Ur very welcome 🙂 but really I should thank u ,, some days I think I forget where I came from .. beautiful pic like yours really brings things home .. When u live in a great country like America it could be ah little easy to let the rest of the world slip by …cheers people ..

  123. Jeff Motter says:

    How wide is that river?

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