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Risking their lives daily
Published on: Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Papar: SK Kaiduan in Ulu Kaiduan is barely 19km from the State Capital. Yet for several pupils in the village, attending school which is a 30-minute walk, requires climbing a 20-feet steep cliff daily.

The sight of the children clambering up the cliff due to lack of a suspension bridge may seem like they are partaking in an extreme sport for their age but is a fact as the pictures show.

On previous occasions, several pupils slipped and fell, causing them injuries. But they have to take the risk as it is one of two ways to get to school.

During dry season when the Sungai Kaiduan is not swollen, they can avoid the cliff by walking across the river but still cannot escape getting their shoes and uniforms wet. Hence, the need to have two sets of clothes.

"The route is dangerous enough for adults, what more for children," said Bernard Campoy Himaya, 37.

He said during school days, he would wake his children, Sionard, 6, and Maryfaith, 8, before 6am.

Getting ready for school would mean wrapping their school uniforms in plastic bags to prevent them getting wet.

They would change into their uniforms once they arrive at school because by then their clothes would be drenched from sweat and water from the river.

"I decided not to wait for the suspension bridge and started creating a safer path going through the forest which takes about an hour to get to the school.

"I hope to complete it soon as this concerns the safety of my children and several other families staying here," he said.

"It will be good if the government can assist by erecting a suspension bridge," he said, adding that a non-governmental organisation, Agaras, visited their village last year promising to bring the matter to the attention of authorities.

He believed Assemblywoman for the area, Datuk Rosnah Shirlin, who is Deputy Federal Works Minister, was approached on the matter through Agaras, as it was too far for him to see her personally.

"The NGO said they were informed that materials to build a bridge will be sent but there is no sign of that happening," he said.

"The village is supplied with power and water, but lacks proper roads.

My children have to go through the same route as I did when I was a child," said Fiunia Jonius, 25. - Sherell Jeffrey

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