The students at Bharat Mata School in India saw a big need to improve road safety and reduce carbon emissions in their community, so they came up with an initiative and shared it with all the schools in the area. Together they are making it happen!
The traffic in the community around Bharat Mata School in India is overwhelming, so the students took matters into their own hands to improve the situation. Actually, their work started last year when they carried out a plan to improve the traffic around their own school and submitted the action to Your Ideas, Your Initiatives. Now for their second year of road safety, over 700 dedicated high school students are wisely building on work they’ve already done.
The initial school traffic plan was such a great success that the next step was clear – to take their initiative on the road, and share it with all the schools in the community! At the same time, they’d collaborate with the other students to come up with even more great ideas to help achieve their goals and share their messages with the whole city, and beyond.
The students did a lot of brainstorming together, and came up with some key points to focus on. These included measures to reduce traffic and risky driving behavior in the area; to address the specific traffic problems of five schools in the locality that deal with an especially high level of risk; and to cut down air and noise pollution in general.
The students saw a need for change, and their initiative shows that they truly believe in the first point of their pledge for road safety – be the change you want to see.
The students successfully carried out diverse actions. First of all, they shared the traffic plan they had designed for their own school the year before, which created a more orderly flow to reduce the danger of accidents as well as air and noise pollution. So far, 12 schools in the area have used the plan as a basis for designing similar ones for their own traffic situations. The students at Bharat Mata School even took their plan to the city Traffic Department, so they could use it as the basis of a new traffic policy.
They also addressed carbon emissions and excessive traffic, and at the same time, built a strong sense of responsibility among community members through a very powerful awareness raising campaign and pledge for road safety and mobility. The awareness raising campaign, which placed special focus on getting people to car-pool, use public transport, and keep vehicles properly maintained in order to reduce emissions, used a number of methods. They performed street theatre acts about the different problems that result from too much traffic, and they created and distributed comic strips about low-carbon lifestyles. They organized car-pooling for the many people who travel from outside to work in the community, and gathered data on fuel consumption and driving behavior in the area and published it online. They shared suggestions on how to reduce fuel consumption, handed out informational brochures, and organized a drawing contest and art exhibition about road safety.
They also created a road safety pledge focused on the message “Each one, teaches one”, and it travelled fast and far. The pledge is based on four key principles: To be the change you want to see, to promote car-pooling and traffic regulation, to educate others on the benefits of road safety, and to ensure life on Earth is safe and secure. The pledge started with students and spread from there - the latest count shows that 125,736 people have taken it! This includes the Chief Minister of the State, the governor, the Chief Secretary of the Traffic Department, the city mayor, and 22 schools and corporate offices.
All of the pledge-takers have given a green handprint, to represent a green future. This and the other initiatives gained a lot of media attention. The local administration was so impressed they even issued a postage stamp featuring the green handprints in honour of the students and all their work. They’ve shown that real positive change comes from individuals just like us!