The Most Dangerous Ways To School

They climb up mountainous paths, swim across rivers or fight their way through icy wastelands with -50 degrees Celsius.

Their path takes them through amazing natural landscapes, producing spectacular scenery for a very ordinary task.

The participants, at times without shoes, are mere students on their way to school.

Episode 1: Philippines

Episode 1: Philippines

Episode one follows the children from Madibago in the southern Philippines. They have one of the most spectacular and dangerous ways to school in the world.

Some walk alone through the jungle for hours and others risk their lives in order to make it past a steep face of rock and boulders. Each rock face is covered by overgrown tree roots and slippery moss.

Episode 2: Ethiopia

Episode 2: Ethiopia

Episode two follows the schoolchildren in Ethiopia. When they wake up to the first rays of sunshine, the temperature is already over 30 degrees Celsius.

They live in a village by the Danakil desert in northeast Ethiopia, near an active volcano, in a region that is the world’s hottest on average.

Amongst these children are 6-year-old Looita and his sister Khadiga. Their route to school, which is many kilometres long, takes these children of the Afar tribe over jagged earth, over seemingly endless lengths, and every day they are confronted with much more than just the astounding heat.

Episode 3: Bolivia

Episode 3: Bolivia

Visit the Yungas Valley in Bolivia in episode three: a unique landscape, where the Andes Mountains meet the Amazon Rain Forest.

In this remote section of one of the poorest countries in South America, children have a very long and incredible dangerous walk to school ahead of them. All for one goal: education – for a better life.

Seven-year-old Elmer wants to become an engineer and to build his own house, far away from the remote village. But his only way to school leads over a ravine more than 650 feet deep and about 1000 feet long: a kind of homemade zip-line.

He has to entrust his live on a rusty iron pulley and a worn plastic bag.

Episode 4: Nicaragua

Episode 4: Nicaragua

Every morning, the three sisters Julia, Yulissa and Kenya climb into their dugout in order to row to school. They live on the east coast of Nicaragua, one of the world’s poorest countries, and the youngest of them has just turned five; the oldest is nine.

They row across the Rio Escondido. Not only is it one of the largest rivers in the country, it is simultaneously one of the most dangerous routes to school.

While they have to watch out for snakes lurking in the trees over the river, the three sisters also struggle against the current and must ensure the dugout does not fill up with water – because it has multiples holes and could sink at any minute.

Episode 5: Colombia

Episode 5: Colombia

In northern Colombia, in the region Bajo Cauca, more than 180 miles north of Medellín, the landscape is marked by water and seemingly endless expanses.

Every day, the children who live there face this rough, unpredictable wilderness – with just one goal in mind: making it to school. Because this is their chance to break out of poverty and create a better life.

Like the ten year old Kendys and the other schoolchildren. For this, they subject themselves to a daily dose of danger.

Episode 6: Mexico

Episode 6: Mexico

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.

Episode 7: Mongolia

Episode 4: Mongolia

Episode four travels to Mongolia, a place with a harsh unforgiving climate.

Following two Mongolian school kids we’ll see them crossing icy, treacherous and every-changing rivers. One small miss-step and they could be killed or crippled for life.

Episode 8: Kenya

Episode 5: Kenya

Episode five shows the way to school leads two schoolchildren through the leopards valley in Kenya – infamous for roaming predators.

The Kenyan savanna is a huge open air zoo with an incredible diversity of species. Seen from the perspective of parents who send their children to school every day, it is an unfenced zoo, though. An open space where the natural law of eat or be eaten is part of every day life.

It takes a bit of courage to go to school here.

Episode 9: Nepal

Episode 6: Nepal

Those who attend school in the mountain village of Kumpur in Nepal, walk across the mountains of the highest situated country on earth. Nearly half of Nepal lies more than 4 000 Meters above sea level.

Today we’ll follow the kids who take the journey this perilous journey to school almost every day.

Episode 10: Himalaya

Episode 10: Himalaya

Episode ten takes a look at schoolchildren in Himalaya and their trip to school. It is a trip so dangerous these children are accompanied by their to supports them over thin icy rivers and slippery mountain slopes.

To ensure safety, a sense of utmost precaution is needed. These Himalayan schoolchildren must have a total trust in the experience and skill of their father.

Episode 11: Siberia

Episode 11: Siberia

In Oymyakon, the cold controls everything. The town is located in eastern part of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), which belongs to Russia and is know as the world’s Pole of Cold.

Nevertheless every morning the children march to school, the youngest just 6 years old, making their way by temperatures of -50 degrees Celsius.

Such circumstances would seem completely inconceivable for many people, but in the coldest town in the world, it is the beginning of an ordinary day.

Episode 12: Papua New Guinea

Episode 12: Papua New Guinea

For some of the children in Papua New Guinea, an island in the Pacific Ocean – in the middle of one of the world’s largest rainforests – the routes to school are hard.

That is certainly the case for 8-year-old Junior and his cousin Ruth.

Their journey in the so-called ‘Land of 1000 Rivers’ is a five-day one which leads the students through jungles, in which new and unique animals are continuously being discovered, and in whose branches the notorious green tree python lurks.

Their journey to school is too risky to tackle alone; that is why father Michael accompanies his son and niece on this adventure. They travel over one hundred kilometres, and on this trip the children fear nothing more than the large Takali river.

The Most Dangerous Ways To School
  • Info
  • Release date2016
  • Full runtime
  • Director(s)Joachim Förster, Raphael Lauer
  • Part of the seriesThe Most Dangerous Ways To School
  • Production companyMAXIMUS Film GmbH