Meet the Chinese kids who have to climb a cliff to get to school


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypsEhzjzIhk

ATULE’ER IS A SMALL VILLAGE IN THE Chinese Sichuan province. It sits on top of a cliff at an altitude of 4,600 feet, and is home to a mere 400 people. Because it is so small, it doesn’t have a school. As a result, the 15 children in the village (between the ages of 6 and 15) have to climb a half a mile down the cliff face on rickety bamboo and rope ladders to get to school. Because of how dangerous the trip is, they can only go back and forth twice a month.

Villagers as a whole aren’t particularly pleased about their situation — if someone gets sick, another villager must tie the person to their back and carry them down the cliff face with the help of two others. And if the villagers go to the market at the bottom of the mountain, they are easy to exploit, as the buyers at the base of the mountain know that the villagers want to sell all of their wares to they don’t have to lug it back up the mountain.

But it was the video of the children climbing the mountain for school that helped change things.

The story blew up in China last month when a photographer went to the village to film children climbing back up to the village. When the footage was published by the state-run Beijing News, the government decided to step in, and has promised to install safer stairs on the mountainside and possibly one day, a road.

h/t: The Washington Post.


Kids Climb a 2,600-High Mountain Just to Go to School

May 31, 2016 10:54pm GMT+0800

If you think being stuck in traffic for three hours just to get to work is hell, you might want to think again. A video footage of school children scaling a very steep 2,600-foot cliff just to get to school shocked people from all over.

Children of impoverished Sichuan village scale a 2,600 foot mountain to get to school.

These children are around 6 to 15 years of age and they come from a remote, impoverished village in China called Sichuan. In the video, the children are seen scaling a rickety ladder, no harness and safety gear, of an almost vertical mountain.

Children use an old rickety ladder to climb up and down the mountain.

Most of the kids are bare-handed as they take the trip to and from school. The journey takes them around an hour and a half uphill and downhill, according to Beijing News. Photographer Chen Jie accompanied the children one time on their commute to school.

Watch the video here:

According to Chen Jie, “Every single climb felt like rubbing shoulders with death.” The photographer stated that the children had to endure this deth-defying journey to school is because the village cannot afford to provide proper infrastructure.

Children aged 6-15 years old, take a break on their way to school.

County officers have already tried to build a road to make things easier for the children but the project became too expensive for the government and the villagers. There have been around seven or eight people already who have died as they scaled the cliff, said the village chief.

Often, the children scale the mountain bare-handed and without safety gear.

Those who have seen the video on Weibo had mixed reactions about it. One user of the Chinese social networking site exclaimed, “This has to be fake! Doesn’t our mighty country receive millions of dollars in international aid every year? How can it not even build a road for young village schoolchildren?”

The journey takes an average of 1.5 to 2 hours to and from school

Chen hopes that his photographs would open the eyes of authorities and big changes be done to help the children and prevent deaths from happening any further.

The same plight is faced by the schoolchildren of Nepal who have to traverse dangerous mountains just to get to and from school.


World's scariest school run? Chinese children tackle 800-metre cliff

Children as young as six from Atuler village in Sichuan province have to scale a huge rockface using rickety ladders

First published on Fri 27 May 2016 05.37 BST

Authorities in south-west China have vowed to come to the aid of an isolated mountain village after photographs emerged showing the petrifying journey its children are forced to make to get to school.

To attend class, backpack-carrying pupils from Atuler village in Sichuan province must take on an 800-metre rock face, scrambling down rickety ladders and clawing their way over bare rocks as they go.

Images of their terrifying and potentially deadly 90-minute descent went viral on the Chinese internet this week after they were published in a Beijing newspaper.

There are 17 vine ladders on the 800-metre-high way home, but the most dangerous part is a path on the cliff without a vine ladder. Photograph: Feature China/Barcroft Images

The photographs were taken by Chen Jie, an award-winning Beijing News photographer whose pictures of last year’s deadly Tianjin explosions were recognised by the World Press Photo awards earlier this year.

Chen used his WeChat account to describe the moment he first witnessed the village’s 15 school children, aged between six and 15, scaling the cliff. “There is no doubt I was shocked by the scene I saw in front of me,” he wrote, adding that he hoped his photographs could help change the village’s “painful reality”.

Chen, who spent three days visiting the impoverished community, said the perilous trek, which he undertook three times, was not for the faint of heart. “It is very dangerous. You have to be 100% careful,” he told the Guardian. “If you have any kind of accident, you will fall straight into the abyss.”

So steep was the climb that Zhang Li, a reporter from China’s state broadcaster CCTV who was also dispatched to the mountain, burst into tears as she attempted to reach Atuler village. “Do we have to go this way?” the journalist said as her team edged its way up the cliff face. “I don’t want to go.”

Children of Atuler village climb the vine ladder on a cliff on their way home in Zhaojue county. Photograph: Feature China/Barcroft Images

Api Jiti, the head of the 72-family farming community which produces peppers and walnuts, told Beijing News there had been insufficient room to build a school for local children on the mountaintop.

But the perils were evident. The villager chief told the Beijing News that “seven or eight” villagers had plunged to their deaths after losing their grip during the climb while many more had been injured. He had once nearly fallen from the mountain himself.

The trek to school is now considered so gruelling that the children have been forced to board, only returning to their mountaintop homes to see their families twice a month.

Villager Chen Jigu told reporters the wooden ladders used to move up and down the mountain were, like the village, hundreds of years old. “We replace a ladder with a new one when we find one of them is rotten,” he said.

The oral history of Atuler village said the ancestors picked this isolated and dangerous location to avoid wars. Photograph: Feature China / Barcroft Images

More than 680 million Chinese citizens have lifted themselves from poverty since the country’s economic opening began in the 1980s but grinding poverty continues to blight the countryside.

In Atuler village, residents reportedly live on less than $1 (70p) a day.

President Xi Jinping has vowed to completely eradicate poverty by 2020 by offering financial support to about 70 million mostly rural people who survive on less than 2,300 yuan (£240) per year. “Although China has made remarkable achievements seen across the world, China remains the world’s biggest developing country,” Xi told a poverty-reduction conference last October.

A boy on a cliff on his way home in Zhaojue county. There was a cable transportation service taking the children to the valley, but the villagers could not afford the electricity bills and the cable later got dismantled. Photograph: Feature China / Barcroft Images

But experts say that number does not take into account the existence of a forgotten class of “new urban poor” that emerged after tens of millions of Chinese workers were laid off in the late 1990s ahead of China’s entry into the World Trade Organisation.

In a recent interview, Dorothy Solinger, a political scientist and urban poverty expert from the University of California, Irvine, said she believed there could be as many as 40 million urban people still living below the poverty line in China’s cities. “In the cities there is new poverty and they don’t talk about that,” Solinger said. “The city poor have been pacified [through limited cash handouts] and I think that satisfies the central government … They are not helping them escape poverty. They are helping them stay minimally alive.”

Uproar over the students’ hair-raising commute brought promises of government action. The region’s Communist party secretary said a steel staircase would be built to connect the deprived hamlet with the outside world while a permanent solution was found.

Jike Jinsong, another official, said authorities did not have sufficient money to build a road between Atuler and the outside world but warned it was also not feasible to relocate the community since its residents would lose their land.

A third local politician has suggested turning the area into a tourist attraction.

Photographer Chen said action was needed to help the villagers. “They have a very limited income. Basically they eat whatever they grow . They are very poor. They have nothing but bare walls around them. You can see two or three beds in each home, but no furniture,” he said, adding: “How is it possible that something like this exists in the modern world?”

Additional reporting by Christy Yao


Meet the kids who have to climb a cliff to get to school - travels

Children as young as six from Atuler village in Sichuan province have to scale a huge rockface using rickety ladders to go to school. Imagine if you had to literally scale a cliff to get to work or school, risking death each time. That’s what fifteen children do in an isolated mountain village in China to get to school, and after images of the potentially deadly climb went viral, Chinese authorities have promised to help.
Children from Atule'er village were pictured climbing vine ladders to go back to remote homes at 2,624 feet high. The perilous journey takes two hours and they are supervised by parents who use ropes to ensure their safety. An official of Shaojue County said the trip could be extremely dangerous and it had killed around eight residents. Due to the treacherous commute, some children from the village can't receive education after they reach school age

The Communist party secretary in Sichuan province said a steel staircase will be built while the government searches for a longterm solution, the Guardian reports.

For now, the children of Atuler village continue climbing down flimsy ladders and over bare rock races, while wearing their backpacks, for more than an hour to get to school. The journey is so treacherous, thateven or eight people have died attempting it. The kids only return home twice a month.

Chen Jie, who took the photographs of the climb that brought attention to the village, described the trek to the Guardian. “It is very dangerous. You have to be 100% careful,” he said. “If you have any kind of accident, you will fall straight into the abyss.”

These pupils, who aged between six and 15, were seen carrying heavy bags and supervised by three parents.

Their homes at the Atule'er village boasts an altitude of 4,600 feet.

The village is so remote that only 72 families live there, most of whom make a living by growing chillies.

Once the they arrive at the Le'er Primary School, the children stay there for two weeks before making the treacherous journey back down the mountain to visit their families.

Every time they come down or go up the mountain, their parents take it in turns to pick them up.

For the parents who are used to the journey, it takes them an hour to go down the cliff and an hour and a half to go up.

However for the young pupils, they need around two hours to scale the cliffs with the help of dangerous ladders.

30-year-old Chen Guji is one of the parents helped pick up the children on the day when reporters took the pictures.

Chen told the reporter he had to get up at 6am that morning in order to descend the peak to pick up his four daughter and one son, as well as other children.

His son, named Chen Muhei, is six years old and is the youngest of his five children.

The father used rope and tied a knot around his son's backpacks to ensure his safety.

Music: What Must Be (Old Timey Mix) by Dhruva Aliman
https://dhruvaaliman.bandcamp.com/alb.


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The set of pictures were taken on May 14 as 15 children spend two hours climbing 17 cliff ladders at the county of Zhaojue County in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

These pupils, who aged between six and 15, were seen carrying heavy bags and supervised by three parents.

Their homes at the Atule'er village boasts an altitude of 4,600 feet.

The village is so remote that only 72 families live there, most of whom make a living by growing chillies.

Once the they arrive at the Le'er Primary School, the children stay there for two weeks before making the treacherous journey back down the mountain to visit their families.

Every time they come down or go up the mountain, their parents take it in turns to pick them up.

For the parents who are used to the journey, it takes them an hour to go down the cliff and an hour and a half to go up.

However for the young pupils, they need around two hours to scale the cliffs with the help of dangerous ladders.

30-year-old Chen Guji is one of the parents helped pick up the children on the day when reporters took the pictures.

Chen told the reporter he had to get up at 6am that morning in order to descend the peak to pick up his four daughter and one son, as well as other children.

His son, named Chen Muhei, is six years old and is the youngest of his five children.

The father used rope and tied a knot around his son's backpacks to ensure his safety.

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Treacherous trip: These young pupils have to carry heavy schoolbags while going through the perilous journey once every two weeks

Precarious journey:The children live in a terrifying 'cliff village', which is situated on the top of a 2,624-foot-tall peak in Zhaojue County

30-year-old Chen Guji is one of the parents who takes it in turns to help pick up the children. Chen has four daughters and one son

Renowned community: Atule'er, dubbed the 'cliff village', boasts an altitude of 4,600 feet and is on top of a 2,624-foot-tall mountain

According to A Pi Ji Ti, the Secretary of Communist Party of Zhi'ermo Township, the perilous journey between the village and the foot of the mountain has killed around eight people.

Sometimes the journeys are difficult with the village encountering rain and snowy weather.

Because of this, some children from the village are not sent for education even after they reach the school age.

A Pi Ji Ti added the village dates back some 200 years.

Despite the fact it’s isolated, the land is fertile and the villagers are self sufficient.

Looking towards the future, the residents would like the government to build a road leading to and from the village however due to the high costs and small number of people who live there, it appears to be out of the question for officials.

Zhaojue County office secretary Ji Ke Jin Song says: 'The main problems is that we can easily move the villagers to a nearby city but without their farm land they have no job.

'They have good land resources and have a high yield of crops. Building a road to the village would cost 60 million yuan (£6.2 million) which is not cost effective because the number of people is so low.'

The government has invested one million yuan (£105,000) in sheep for the villagers.

It's thought that in the future the village could become involved in the tourism industry.

Isolated in the hills: The village dates back some 200 years and is home to 72 families, most of whom make a living by growing chillies

Sadly, some children from the village are not sent for education even after they reach the school age because of the dangerous commute

Villagers would like a road to be built to ensure a safer journey however the government said the costs are too high

Aerial view of the isolated village of Atule'er at Zhaojue County in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province


Watch the video: Kids Who Risk Their Lives Going To School


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