We have all heard the stories from our older relatives. Depending on how old you are you might even tell similar stories to your kids, nieces or nephews. Stories on how the route to school back in the day consisted of going up and down large hills in the rain or maybe a blinding snowstorm. They are normally funny tales told to the younger generation when they complain about what they have to deal with today. They just don’t know how things used to be way back when. In the Chinese village of Atule’er those stories are true, but not only are they true, they are much worse. When the children of the village go to school they have to climb down seventeen different wicker ladders, a total distance of about 2,600 feet, for a very dangerous trip to school. The good news is that they don’t have to it twice a day. They go to school for two weeks and then come home for a week. While there haven’t been any deaths on the ladder since 2009, there have still been eight deaths over the course of time. After recently having their story covered by several major news outlets the Chinese government has made improvements that will be completed next month. However, all they are doing is putting in steel ladders that have railings. That will be a major improvement but if the government can spent money as foolishly as they do over there they should either pave a road (which would cost around $8 million) or move the school to a better location.It can take eight hours to reach the remotely located village by car from the provincial capital Sichuan, because it sits on a mountaintop that is a half mile high. The children must climb down a wicker ladder that’s almost 2,600 feet long to get to school.
The trek to the Le’er Primary School takes quite a while to complete. Eight people have died on the ladder but there haven’t been any deaths since 2009. The children have to take a break from time to time to ensure they are physically able to continue this extremely tough route to school.
Originally the village was given $150,000 worth of sheep rather than have a road paved for them. The road would have cost nearly $8 million to complete and the government didn’t want to spend the money. So instead the children are forced to go through this to get to school.
Several news outlets, including CNN, did a story on these kids and put pressure on the Chinese government to do something about it. They are currently working on installing a new steel ladder that has railings but it’s not the best solution that could be come up with. They still have a long way to go.