We, eight students in Shanghai, noticed that there were huge amounts of cars blocking the street. We thought, ‘With so many cars and parents crowding in front of the school gate, are there any potential safety hazards?’ That's how our project began.
In order to find the most important road safety issues in China, we had a lot of meetings. In the process, we found out about a special situation: most children, especially primary school students, were picked up by their grandparents. This is very common in China. Parents are too busy to pick up their own children, so the responsibility of sending children to schools is taken by the grandparents. Children are still very young so they cannot notice the unsafe situations on their way to school, but their grandparents cannot respond to unsafe situations quickly because their abilities decreases along with their age. As a result, we noticed that there could be a lot of potential dangers they might face, and we started our research in this area.
However, along with the development of our research, we found out that the main problem is not about who accompanies children on their way to school. It is children’s own awareness of road safety; so instead, we expanded the topic we would focus on. We often heard about tragedies involving students due to their lack of awareness of road safety. Realizing this fact, we noticed the importance of the issue of awareness; we started to look at safety issues when students were going to school and being picked up by their parents. We shifted our focus to a wider range. If children start to have awareness of road safety, they may influence the whole family.
Through the official websites Your ideas Your Initiatives, face-to-face meetings, Managebac and WeChat, we eight students plus one teacher achieved the following initiatives:
- Posters on the Older Generation and Innovation of Bicycles: First, we held several meetings to discuss what we could do to raise awareness; road safety and bicycle innovation were the most important topics for the first four months.
- Questionnaire and Interviews on the Road Safety Issues of our Community: Later we realized our ideas were based on our personal observations and opinions, not the facts. We did some research by questionnaire and interviews with the school guards and traffic coordinators. We found that our first idea was wrong according to the research in our community. The older generation and bicycle innovation were not the main issues.
- Paper Story and Video Game aimed to educate children and teenagers to be aware of road safety. Finally, from the previous research, we found that we could influence the parents who had wrong ideas about the traffic regulations by educating their children, because the questionnaire showed that most children would stop their parents when they were trying to break the rules.
- Article on WeChat Platform to promote the spreading of the paper story and the entire campaign.