Safest place on earth for any child is home and then school. But a child is an explorer and has to learn and create new things. This involves travel too. The statistics tell us that this is the most vulnerable part of our lives when we are on roads. We wanted to ensure the safety of our students and their loved ones. So when we took up this project we were very serious and clear in our objective of educating our students, specially smaller ones in the age group of 5-10 years, about the ‘right behavior’ when on road.
Safety of oneself & of others should be of prime concern for anyone. But often it is observed that it is most compromised when one travels on roads. Negligent behavior due to paucity of time or for the thrill of adventure leads to repentances of a lifetime. On one side the risky driving of vehicles leads to number of deaths and injuries on road ; on the other side reckless pedestrians may provoke accidents. In our school safety of children is looked after very seriously and all private transport and school buses are parked inside the school field for students to board and disembark from. But while looking into other safety aspects of school, it was observed that during dispersal time, some students, before boarding the bus, buy ice creams from street vendors and then run towards their buses completely ignoring the traffic on the busy road. We were shocked and scared. This was tossing off the security by the school. Our group held a meeting in a park near our member’s house to notice other such similar scenarios. Kids were seen running out on the roads trying to grab their ball ignoring their parents call and speeding car or scooter. Young boys and girls were riding bicycles in high speed without any helmets. While coming to school, we were now more observant of the roads. We saw vehicles parked on the zebra crossing at the signal and pedestrians also trying to cross roads from anywhere, ignoring signals and foot overs, subways etc. just to save some time and risking lives.
We realized that this is a major concern, we searched the net for some information and found alarming facts. The number of deaths on roads have been rising over the years. Also the victims were mainly pedestrians. We decided to take up this issue further and educate our school students and if possible people around about the responsible behavior as pedestrians, the proper way of crossing the road and the vigilance to be observed .
Our second concern was to educate drivers on the road about the importance of zebra crossing and where they should stop vehicles to leave space for the pedestrians and also that they should slow down their vehicles near schools, parks, hospitals etc. and other precautions that they should take while on wheels like not using mobile phones and avoiding any kind of distraction from the road.
The first major concern of our team was to educate the small children of our school about the safety precautions they must take while crossing the road, riding a bicycle, playing in parks near roads etc.
- We started off by showing the students of primary school a movie wherein risks of mindlessly crossing the road were highlighted. This movie was put up together by our movie making team of senior school. The characters were all stakeholders within school. This way we made sure to educate & take insight of support staff and drivers of school buses. They helped us in identifying the issues they face on routine basis.The movie was followed by an interactive session turn wise with students of primary school along with their teachers and our team.
- Then we took them to the Traffic training park at Connaught Place, Delhi, where they learnt about the traffic signs and precautions they must take on roads. Students did role plays as drivers and pedestrians. As an iterative exercise, we created a miniature model of Road in our school with the help of an organization in our school premises. The students rode miniature bikes obeying traffic signs.
- Technology was made a friend in our process and we used famous advertisements made on road safety by car manufacturers for educating students. Thereafter, they designed posters on road safety . Resources available on the site ’Your ideas Your initiatives’ were explored for animated movies and games and also ideas on posters.
Our team, used these very posters in the street walk campaigning about the issue around the vicinity of our school. This also helped us in our second concern of educating adults. Students were demonstrated correct way of crossing roads while campaigning and they got hands on learning.
- The creative side of the students was used and we organized a drawing exhibition where students of primary school designed ‘cars of future’ keeping in mind special safety features and road conditions in the future. The students of slightly higher age group volunteered to participate in ‘Road Safety’ drawing competition organized by Delhi Traffic Police.
Along with all this measures which focused on ‘self safety’, it was essential for our plan to work well that other stake holders on road also behave responsibly. The vehicle owners need to follow some rules themselves to ensure safety of pedestrians. They need to know about Zebra crossing and symbols on road saying –“Park /school ahead’, ”hospital ahead”. They need to slow down near these signs.
We discussed with our principal who suggested us to take help from our senior students in school student council. With the permission and co-operation of Traffic Police and few of our school teachers, they manned the real traffic on road for 2 days. They were guiding the drivers and vehicle owners about their responsibilities on road and how they can ensure safety by following basic traffic rules. Their enthusiasm was infectious and motivated us more. Some people also appreciated them for their initiative.
Next we staged a play just outside our school to catch passersby attention. The play had serious real life situations on road presented in a playful manner but focusing on the right behavior. The loud applause made us aware of the huge crowd we had managed to gather around us.
We all know certain things but we tend to get careless with time and ignore certain things which can cost us our lives. We just hope to continue with our endeavours to not loose a precious life due to small negligences.