The Will to Learn Makes Learning Possible

By Ridwan Issa. Ridwan is a graduate from the University of Ilorin. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria

1.0 Introduction

Education is a necessary part of our life. Since birth, we strive to learn something new, find answers to all questions, and seek to know everything around us. With the lapse of time, we take the first steps on the path to knowledge, which becomes more challenging and exciting day by day. Going through all these obscurities, we become educated and better prepared to face the world. Indeed, where there is a will, there is a way.

This paper therefore, presents scenarios of some children’s paths to knowledge. Their strong-willed passion for education did not only make them courageous but also made them brave. Undeniably, they lost all fear but not the determination to learn, and risked their lives to learn but not the fear to learn. Here comes to my mind the famous statement made by Nelson Mandela that, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”  Indeed, they are brave!

2.0 Scenarios of kids risking their lives to the path of knowledge (school)

These stories might sound incredible to you, but it isn’t uncommon for children from less privileged regions facing immense hardship on their commute to the institute of learning. Don’t be surprised at them!

Take a look at these Indonesian school children below in Sumatra. Since a suspension bridge collapsed in 2011 due to a very heavy downpour of rain, they had no other alternative for crossing the river. Consequently, these strong-willed children had to walk along the precarious path in order to reach their school. That they do with a tightrope walk like daredevils above a flowing river which is 30 feet deep. Then, they must walk a further seven miles through a very thick forest before they get to their school in the town of Padang. This they do on a daily basis. [Note 1] Hilariously, they seldom have to struggle or fight each other in order to get the wire.

Also, in another Indonesian village of Sanghiang Tanjung, children living on the wrong side of the Ciberang River have to cross a broken suspension bridge to reach the other side where their school is located. Therefore, they created an alternate bridge which is a 30 minutes’ risky tour. Coupled with that is another 30 minutes walk through a very thick forest to their institute of learning. [Note 2] Indeed, this is precarious!

Moreso, in the Philippines, elementary school students use an inflated tire tube to cross a river on their way to school in a remote village in the Rizal province, east of the capital Manila. The students have to walk for at least a day and an hour to get to and from school. Whenever, the river overflows it bank due to heavy rain, they will have to take shelter at relatives’ homes. Even though it is dangerous, these education-oriented children would rather use it in order to go learn, than not learning at all. [Note 3]

In addition, in Columbia, kids from a handful of families living in the rainforest, 40 miles southeast of the capital Bogota, commute via steel cables that connect one side of the valley to the other. This is the only risky way to reach school. [Note 4] For instance, the lady you’re seeing here makes her way to school. She attaches the sack containing her brother, who is too young, at five, to make the crossing alone, and herself to a pulley; in order to learn.

The monsoon (heavy rain) season in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, was also unable to deter these passionate students from the path of knowledge.

Finally, during clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians in 2010, a girl is seen calmly walking towards her school unconcerned by the violence around her. Although, the street was strewn with rocks thrown by protesters in the direction of the Israeli troops, who can be seen behind the girl and behind protective shields, she was focused on her will to learn.

3.0 Conclusion

Critically analyzing these scenarios, it is crystal clear that these children’s will to learn is driven by a very strong passion. It seems that they value education as a basic human right; indeed, they are braver than warriors!


1. “No, they’re not in training for I’m A Celebrity… they’re just going to school”, Mail Online, 6 November 2012

2.  “Build Bridges for Health, Education & Hope – Nepal”, JustGiving

3.  “Big picture: Colombian Cable Runners, by Christoph Otto”, by Hannah Booth, the guardian, 27 July 2012

4. The children risking their lives on the way to school: Pupils use aqueduct just inches wide to avoid three-mile walk, Mail Online, 26 November 2012

2 comments on “The Will to Learn Makes Learning Possible

  1. Abiola on

    With this awesome piece,it is clearly to me the importance of will in any action. Truly,where there is a will,there is always a way to achieve it. Keep it up my dear!


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