There are altogether 445 children studying at Amarsingh Dasharathchanda Secondary School in Satkhaluwa, Barbardaiya Municipality, Bardiya. Of them, 134 are from Thumani village, while 50 others are from Dhakela village.

Students from both the villages go to the Satkhaluwa-based school as there is no secondary level school in their villages. Satkhaluwa is not far from Thumani and Dhakela villages, but the Gyang River separates these villages and makes it hard for people of these nearby villages to go to other villages.

It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to reach the Satkhaluwa-based school from Thumani and Dhakela villages when there is less water in the river. But, when the water level is high, it takes about 2 hours for students to make a detour to the school by walking along the Mahendra Highway.

"I've been studying in this school since Grade VI and have suffered a lot. We wouldn't have to suffer if there was a bridge over the river," said 10th grader Arjun BK. "I had to remain absent many times during the monsoon and on rainy days simply because I couldn't cross the flooded river," BK shared.

Other students also shared their fear of being swept away by the river someday.

Just last week, Sangita Khand of Grade IX was swept away by the flooded river. Luckily, she was rescued immediately.

She is now safe. According to locals, two persons were swept away by the river last year too. Principal Chhabilal Pokharel also spoke of the risk the river was posing to school kids.

Without a bridge, the river poses a risk to others also. Especially, the risk is high for the elderly, infirm and pregnant women. The locals have lamented that the elected representatives are apathetic to the idea of building a bridge over the river.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 6, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.