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For Sriharikota’s children, distance is just a number

Apr 14, 2022

Inspiration from ISRO - When it comes to education, distance is just a number for the students of India

SRIHARIKOTA: You are used to long journeys if you are a resident of Sriharikota, that little island in the Bay of Bengal along the Andhra Pradesh coast. You have grown up watching rockets take off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, traveling thousands of miles as India goes deeper into space. Distance, then, is just a number.

Children of the fishermen who largely populate this spindle-shaped island, however, prepare for a completely different journey daily. Because they live close to India’s only spaceport, they have started dreaming about becoming scientists and astronauts. To realise this dream, they must travel up to two hours in one direction every morning just to get to school. For some of the children, this includes a boat as there are no schools near their homes.

But what is two hours when Chandrayaan travelled seven weeks to get to the moon? The students confess that living near India’s only spaceport has further steeled their resolve to get themselves a decent education, odds notwithstanding.For the record, Sriharikota is not just a spaceport. It is home to around 6,000 people living about 5km from the space station with their own dreams, desires and aspirations. The Vikram lander's last-minute landing glitch left them teary-eyed. But it has failed to deter the spirits of the young students.

"Our teachers allowed us to stay home on July 22 as they wanted us to witness Chandrayaan-2’s launch, the biggest experiment of Shar (Sriharikota Range) centre," said Sekhar, a class X student of Venadu Island.

The municipal high school in Sullurpet town had arranged a live screening of the launch in the digital classroom. "It was a thrilling experience as teachers explained the research that went into going to the moon,” said another student, Madhavi.

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