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Photos: Various

Teaching in extreme circumstances

Even in the toughest settings, kids need to learn. Check out these amazing photographs of students and teachers around the world, determined to carry on in spite of the challenges.

Photo: Mohammed Hamoud / Anadolu / Getty

Yemen
Students listen to their teacher inside the wreckage of their school in the Ar Radmah district of Ibb, in December 2019. The classrooms have no heating or benches, but still the children are trying to continue their education in the shadow of the ongoing civil war.

Photo: Imagine China Limited / Alamy

China
Kids living in the clifftop village of Atuler, in China’s Sichuan province, have to climb up an 880-metre rock face to get home from their boarding school, situated at its base. Before the new steel stairs were built, the children had to rely on treacherous wooden ladders, and the journey took an hour longer. The children only go home during school holidays.

Photo: Mahmud Hossain Opu / NPR

Bangladesh
Along the Atrai river, in the rural backwaters of northwest Bangladesh, flooding from monsoon rains frequently cuts villages off from the rest of the world. Now a fleet of 23 floating schools ensure that education can continue. When classes are finished for the day, the boat putters along the river to drop the students off again.

Photo: Philippe Lopez / AFP

France
French literature teacher Guillaume Ollivier, seated left, teaches young offenders at the juvenile ward of Villepinte prison, on the outskirts of Paris. The students are between 13 and 17 years old. Teachers and students are locked into the classroom together while lessons take place.

Photo: Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters / Ritzau Scanpix

South Korea
Bryan Waite, a US navy officer based in the Joint Security Area at the border of North and South Korea, gives children at the Daesungdong Elementary School a high-five. This is the only school inside the four-kilometre-wide demilitarised zone separating the two countries. Officers teach English at the school twice a week. 

Photo: Apu Gomes / AFP

Brazil
Girls enjoying a free ballet lesson in an old basketball court at the Complexo do Alemão favela in Rio de Janeiro. Drug crime and gang shootouts make this one of the city’s most dangerous boroughs. Local resident and former rhythmic gymnast Tuany Nascimento initiated the classes as part of her ‘Na ponta dos pés’ (On tiptoe) project, to expand girls’ horizons and keep them away from the gangs.

Photo: Mads Nissen / Ritzau Scanpix

Uganda
Pupils surround teacher Vivian Alezuyo as she tries to correct their homework. There are 220 children in her class, ranging from five to 14. The school is situated in Uganda’s Bidibidi refugee settlement. One of the largest of such settlements in the world, it is home to South Sudanese refugees who have fled the civil war in their native country. 

Photo: Noorullah Shirzada / AFP

Afghanistan
Afghan schoolchildren at what is left of Papen High School in Deh Bala district, Nangarhar province in July 2019. Fighting between government forces and Islamic State reduced the building to rubble and continued clashes mean that children are as vulnerable as ever in the grinding conflict. 

Photo: Adnan Imam / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Syria
Seventy-year-old Nurulhuda Haffar has converted her home into a school for 60 mentally and physically disabled children in western Aleppo. She found shelter here, after fleeing attacks by forces loyal to the Assad regime. An estimated one in three schools in Syria have been damaged or destroyed.