Our project highlights the importance of road safety precautions while crossing the roads around school areas. Our aim is to raise awareness in the neighboring schools on the importance of road safety while crossing to and from school.
Upon deliberating all the possibilities that could be a potential project topic, we came across Talal Kassem’s deeply moving story, whereby the high school student was tragically killed by a car while crossing the road on his way to school. As a result, we took it upon ourselves to utilize this horrific incident as a means of further educating the public about proper road safety measures in order to prevent similar tragic occurrences. Through further research, we contacted YASA, a road safety organization that provided us with a plethora of statistics on various road related accidents such as death rates and infant injury rates.
When planning, we came across many strategies to address the problem.
To begin with, we walked around our school neighborhood to take a look at the other schools. We visited nine schools serving more than 9,000 students, including our school. Four schools didn’t have traffic signs and eight schools didn’t have speed bumps in front of their main gates. Some schools had signs but they either weren’t visible or were ignored, and a few were burned while others were facing the wrong direction.
Afterwards, we began interviewing parents and their children as they were leaving their schools. Some parents didn’t seem to care, saying that the roads are already full of traffic but it would be easy for their children to cross the road. When talking to other parents, most of them conveyed concern about their children’s safety. Seeing as the preferred safety precautions were not available, the parents believed that the municipality must take action.
To start our action plan, we contacted the municipality and explained our concerns. They offered to help us with our project and come along with us to add signs as well as speed bumps in front of schools that needed them.
Our work wasn’t done there. Next we began our awareness campaigns. We asked YASA, a road safety organization in Lebanon, to conduct an awareness campaign at our school. They presented a PowerPoint on general road safety as well as activities on the playground. Two students from our community service group contacted a public school in the area and conducted a pedestrian road safety awareness presentation for grades 2 and 3, along with activities on how and when to cross the road. At the school assembly students watched a play, a movie, and sang a song on how to cross the roads safely. Then students drew posters illustrating safety measures and signs to be added to their school surroundings. In the playground, students practiced how to cross roads safely. We also conducted an awareness campaign with our elementary school students. Grades 1 and 2 students watched a video, sang a song, and were shown reflectors that would help them cross the road safely at night. Grade 3 students had a discussion session illustrated with a video. They also designed a Pedestrian Safety Tips brochure that represented several safety measures to be taken by pedestrians when walking or crossing the streets. The brochure was distributed to the elementary students as part of the campaign. The students were also asked to share the brochure with relatives and friends to spread as much awareness as possible. Grade 4 students designed models for pedestrian signs. They shared the signs in an assembly with grades 3, 4, and 5. Grade 5 students designed a flyer about road safety and shared it with the school community.
Upon completion of this awareness campaign, we have indeed attained further knowledge on this matter of serious importance. We strove to educate public school children in order to prevent them from the dire consequences associated with reckless behavior on the roads.
Through working on this road safety and responsibility project, we can contribute to decreasing school area teenager risk incidents. This project made us feel secure that our students will be exposed to much less risky and dangerous situations in the school vicinity. We felt proud and honored to be able to visit underprivileged students in order to raise awareness of such an important matter.
We have decided to continue raising road safety awareness in neighboring schools by hosting activities, handing out flyers and presenting live performances. We also plan to follow up with the municipality in order to insure that all the schools in Beirut acquire the required stop signs and speed bumps.