“Crossing the Nullah [Ditch] Came with Risks Such as Skin Infections, Malaria, Dengue and Other Diseases. I Felt Terrible When I Saw the Children Wade Through the Disgusting Sludge”

Irror Mubai

Eshan Balbale, a 17-year-old from Mumbai, India, is a problem-solver. The problem: Children in Sathe Nagar were forced to cross a stinky ditch in order to go to school. The solution: Build a bamboo bridge over the ditch. It took him eight days to complete the four-foot-wide and 100-foot-long bridge, which he did in August 2015. Mr. Balbale said that the residents “explained that crossing the nullah [ditch] came with risks such as skin infections, malaria, dengue, and other diseases. I felt terrible when I saw the children wade through the disgusting sludge.” Some people had even drowned in the ditch after heavy showers. Building the bridge of concrete would have required getting permission from government authorities. Because that would take time, he “chose to build the bridge with bamboo, which is light yet sturdy. The children needed the bridge immediately as the water level rises during the monsoon season.” Mr. Balbale, who is a Class XII commerce student of Thane’s Bedekar College, said, “My parents are very supportive of my interest and help me by providing financial aid.” He added, “I plan to visit the site at least once a month. If the bridge is used responsibly, it should easily last for a couple of years. In the meantime, I will repair the bridge as and when the need arises.” His next project is to build toilets in the area. He said, “Ever since I was in Class VIII, I would see my parents help other people and I made it a point to donate my clothes, school bags and books to our domestic help and her children. I like to understand the problems people have and help them accordingly. It is a learning experience for me.”

For Further Information:

Arita Sarkar, “ESHAN BALBALE: BRIDGING A MUDDY GAP.” Mumbai Mirror (India). 21 September 2015

http://tinyurl.com/pbk4hee

Saswat Singhdeo, “17-Year-Old Builds Bridge So That Kids Don’t Need To Wade Through Smelly Drain In Mumbai.” ScoopWhoop. 26 September 2015

http://tinyurl.com/p545dz3

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