Road accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths globally. We, students of DP 1 begun a service project- Road Safety Awareness In Underprivileged Students. The primary aim of the project was to spread awareness about Road Safety, to the children of the Akshar Foundation. This NGO provides free education to underprivileged students in our city, Gurugram, and we believed that we could do our part and help teach the students, specifically educating them pertaining to this increasingly relevant topic, especially when our cities grow larger, and more centred around transport. We taught them to recognize dangerous situations and to make decisions about safe behaviour .
Whilst looking at prospective projects to pursue, we, the students of DP 1 realised the topic of Road Safety is one that is often overlooked, even though it is vital for children to be aware of certain rules that exist when one is travelling by road, in order for them to be able to keep themselves and others safe. According to recent statistics, there is at least 1 road-related death every 4 minutes, which means that there are approximately 360 deaths per day, while at least 16 children die on Indian roads daily, which is approximately 480 children per month, and all of these deaths would have been entirely preventable if the people involved had received the adequate information regarding how one should behave on and nearby roads. Moreover, as urbanisation rapidly increases, it seems to be, as one would colloquially put it, ‘common sense’ for road safety to be a necessary part of our school syllabus. However, only children who are financially comfortable are recipients to these key skills. Moreover, teaching students about road safety makes children more aware and alert when it comes to activities and daily takes, whether it be crossing roads or being sure to make use of the sidewalks, as roads are a fundamental part of our daily lives. It is one of the principal constituents that will remain important and applicable for the rest of their lives, hence its need to exist in our education systems.
Hence, we felt that nothing was more fitting than to spread awareness about how one should conduct themselves on and off the roads. We intended to deliver this message through the means of interactive games, whether it be to introduce the children to signs or to discuss colours and their significance, etcetera. We specifically wished to cater to school-going students.
To initiate this project, we visited the Akshar Foundation with the intent to distribute handmade notebooks we had made for the students there. Upon doing so, we saw the potential for executing another project, which we narrowed down to Road Safety, as mentioned above. We were, then, given the incredible opportunity to teach the children there. As the median age of the students enrolled at the Foundation was between the ages of 5 to 10, we decided to create all our teaching material to best serve that age group, as they were the primary audience.
Before each visit, which would happen every other Thursday, we would devise a lesson plan. For efficiency, we made a standard template with categories such as any such vocabulary to be introduced, warm-up exercises, the activity’s procedure, the learning outcome and the objective/aim, and elaborated upon it, depending on what we planned to explore in the next classes. Due to the fact that most children spoke in Hindi, as it was their first language, we delivered our lessons in that medium, which was also the case for most of the interactions, as well. Additionally, we would encourage the students to speak in English, which not only gave them practice but also helped us work on our communication skills.
Furthermore, as this project was nothing like what most of the students were used to doing, there were certain hurdles that we faced. This included, but not limited to, finding new and innovative ways to keep the students engaged, creating new and different lesson plans every other week that were both compelling and informative, communicating our ideas and information, especially specific terms or rules, and finally, making sure the children were able to understand what was being taught, and were able to adequately grasp onto the topics, which was especially tough since some children were not very willing to ask any questions.
Conclusively, we can say that our aim of spreading awareness was achieved, since we communicated our ideas well as a team and spread our work to be the most efficient, and to get a better, constructive outcome, and we saw how well the students responded to everything that we taught them. To publish our work to the wider community, we worked on a video that was uploaded on YouTube.
All in all, this was a holistic experience in which we all came away with important takeaways, learnings, and invaluable knowledge.