The suburbs of Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, sprawl across rough, mountainous terrain. A long road winds through the area, but most of the rural residents don’t own cars and the public bus runs just one day a week outside the city.
For students like eighth grader Derartu Ahemed, 17, the lack of transit and hilly commute frequently mean having to hitchhike to school. Derartu lives about four and a half miles from her school, a journey that would take hours by foot. She waits along the side of the road every day for up to an hour and a half, signaling for passing cars to pick her up. Regardless of how early she wakes up, she might still be late for school and therefore barred from class.