They risk their lives in Mexico - One of the world's most dangerous ways to school

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Published at : 06 Feb 2021
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Every Monday, little Lorenzo struggles alone as he makes his way over slippery scree and past steep canyons. And all this just so he can go to school and receive something to eat there. The 6-year-old lives in northwest Mexico in the extensive Sierra Madre Occidental. This is the home of his people, the Rarámuri. These indigenous peoples live well-hidden in the mountains and have hardly any contact with the outside world. Their daily lives revolve around agriculture and livestock; poverty is a big issue for the Rarámuri. To escape this fate, Lorenzo must literally overcome more than 1000 metres altitude. One small lapse of concentration, one careless step and Lorenzo could fall off the edge.

At school, Teresa, Angela and Philomena sit next to him. These sisters, aged 6, 8 and 9, can see the school from their home, which sits on a plateau opposite. But to get there requires a journey of many hours, which takes them over narrow and rocky paths, onto sharp rock edges, across a stream, and - just before they reach their destination - forces them to climb again steeply uphill over smooth rocks on all fours. If it is raining, this journey becomes an almost impossible one: the stream is transformed within minutes into a torrent, and the rocks are suddenly as slippery as an ice rink.

These children undertake their journey to school all by themselves. For up to four hours, they march through one of the most beautiful but also one of the most dangerous Mexican landscapes. Throughout this journey they all have only one goal in mind: to ultimately find a job in a city and lead a better life.
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