23 Mar 2015

A teacher swims through a polluted river everyday to get to his students. He goes on to say “Teaching is my life and these children depend on me so if swimming each day is the price I have to pay then so be it.”

Malik swimming to work
Why does he have to swim? Malik lives in the Padinjatumuri village of Mallapuram district, which is traditionally a poor area. Therefore the only other feasible option for Malik is to take a bus. However, taking a bus would mean a 20-minute wait at the stop and a further 90 minutes to complete his journey, that is if Malik can even get on the bus. Often the bus is overcrowded and late so Malik feels he has little option but to swim as he wouldn’t be able to guarantee getting into work on time.
“There are no bridges to cross this river and the only other route to the school is a two-hour long trek via the bus which is always running late. Therefore, swimming happens to be the only choice and for me to teach my students then this is what I have to do.” says Malik.
So each morning Malik packs an extra pair of clothes, wraps a rubber tube around him and takes the plunge into the Kadalundi river. He has been doing this for the past 12 years.
“He is very punctual. In fact much more than those who use other modes of transport. His dedication to his work is superb,” says Headmaster of AMLPS School, K M Mohammed Basheer.
“We love this teacher,” says a student at the school where he teaches.
It’s no surprise he is so popular. He has never been late, not even during the monsoon, when the currents in the river are treacherous. Dangers may be many, but one thing that still motivates him to brave risks are the voices of his students.
“We wait for him to arrive each day, he’s such a great teacher. We depend on him to get a good education.” says one of his students.

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