When Eshan Balbale saw that students in Sathe Nagar had to walk through a 1.5 km long, filthy, sewage-filled stretch to reach school every day, he decided to make a bridge for them. And he did it in just eight days!
Children of Sathe Nagar, a slum in Mumbai, had to walk about 1.5 km every day to reach their school. The way to school was not just long, but also very filthy, and included a 100 feet long stretch of an open and dirty nullah.
Rainy seasons were worse, as the overflowing dirty water not only claimed lives of people crossing the nullah, but also raised concerns of diseases like malaria, dengue and other such illnesses.
But thanks to a 17-year-old, class XII student, residents of Sathe Nagar can now take a sigh of relief.
Meet Eshan Balbale, the boy who created a bamboo bridge to connect both sides of the nullah, making the students’ way to school safer and healthier.
When Eshan saw the poor condition of the locality in August, he decided to take matters into his own hands. The issue, which was unresolved for several years in spite of many complaints, was addressed by Eshan in just a few days.
During his visit to the locality, Eshan found that parents were reluctant to send their kids to school because of the dangerous canal which had taken a few lives. Apart from the unsafe path, unavailability of autos and a long walking distance were other factors that led students to drop out.
Witnessing all this, he quickly figured out that there was an immediate need to construct a bridge over the nullah. But making a concrete bridge would require BMC’s permission, and that would take a long time. This is when he decided to make a bamboo bridge which would be light yet strong, and could provide basic safety to the kids as they travel every day.
The bridge that took eight days to finish is four-foot wide and 100 foot long bridge. It can carry 50 people at a time, and was inaugurated on August 29. It connects Sathe Nagar to the PGMP colony.
Eshan plans to maintain the bridge on his own until authorities come up with a more permanent solution.
This is not the first time that this young change maker has stepped up to help people in need. Two months back, he set up an NGO, Nirbhay Yuva Pratishthan, where he encourages other youngsters to participate in similar philanthropic ventures.
After making kids’ way to school easy, he is planning to improve sanitation conditions in the area. He is seeking permission from the ward office to build eight to ten toilets in the area.
Eshan’s compassionate deeds are inspired from his parents who run a school in Thane for underprivileged kids.
With this recent step, he sure has won many hearts, and we hope to see more young minds doing amazing things like this.