This 4-Year-Old Girl Trekked Through Siberia To Help Her Sick Grandmother

When we say "girl power," we're often thinking of stories like Saglana Salchak's.
The 4-year-old girl, who lived with her grandparents on their remote farm deep in the taiga forest near the Mongolian border, woke up last month to find that her grandmother wasn't moving, according to The Guardian. They were 12 miles from the nearest village.
After talking to her blind grandfather about it, she decided to walk to the nearest home to ask for help. Their closest neighbor, however, lived five miles away.
Armed with only a box of matches, the little girl left her house and started her trek through the -29F-degree taiga. It took her several hours to walk the five miles to her neighbors' house, with the snow often reaching up to her chest. Fortunately, The Guardian reports, she didn't get stuck in the snow or encounter any wolves "that had at times attacked her grandparents' livestock."
She almost missed the neighbors' house because of all the undergrowth, but one of them spotted her. They called some medics from the village, who, after checking on Saglana, took her back to her grandparents'. They found that the grandmother had died of a heart attack.
Saglana told Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda that she wasn't scared during her journey. "I just walked, walked, and got there," she said. But she did say that she was hungry. She caught a cold after her trek, but quickly recovered at the local hospital. She's now living in a children's home and just celebrated her fifth birthday.
Locals are calling her a hero. "You can’t [easily] impress residents of the remote Tere-Kholsky district with extreme stories about taiga life. Nonetheless, the incident several days ago amazed even the old-timers in Kungurtug, the district centre," Tuva Online wrote.
However, the story has called Saglana's living conditions into question. A criminal case has been opened against the child's mother, who lives in another part of the region with her stepfather. There's also the fact that Saglana's grandparents didn't have a phone with which to call for help — according to some, the fault of the local government.
"Even in Soviet times, herders in Tuva had [material] privileges and radio communications," Sayana Mongush, a local activist and journalist told The Guardian. "But now in the 21st century a 4-year-old child has to go by foot only because there’s no connectivity. This is nonsense, and the crime is not by the girl's mother, but by the authorities."

More from Global News

R29 Original Series