What do you think a student of 7th grade worries about? Having more play time? Whether he can stay and watch TV instead of going to school?
But that is not true for 12-year-old Illyas from Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh; Illyas’s worry daily is whether he will have time to go to school and study after walking to the riverbank to get water.
I dream of becoming a doctor. I want to save lives. I want to make my country proud. I want my parents to hold their heads high and take pride in my achievements. On any given day, I am spending more time in walking between home and the riverbank than in studying.
Ilyas, stays at his Naani’s (grandmother’s) house and attends the village school. In his village, access to water is a big problem. There are only a few hand pumps, leading to long queues at each, but none of them give water consistently – some give no water, some give dirty water, while others give salty water. Water from none of them is fit for drinking.
As a result, his mother asks him to fetch water from the river instead. The water from the river is no better either. But he can’t let his family go thirsty, and goes to collect water from the river every day. The walk to the riverbank is difficult as the pathway is uphill and downhill and he has to make multiple trips and walk back with heavy loads of water.
Most of his day is spent in fetching water. As a result, he is often late for school and gets scolded by the teachers for it. “I dream of becoming a doctor and saving lives, but I spend most of my day ensuring we have enough water to survive.”
There’s little he can do. But you can do much more. Help Illyas in achieving his dream of becoming a doctor.