“Save the Children's 7% Project is a good project with clear approaches to help save our children,” said the school principal
By Songporn Bea Leelakitichok
Hatairat is the principal of Bang Chak (Komolpraset-utid) School, a small-scaled urban school with 235 students in Bangkok. There are 235 students in the school and 12 teachers. The classes range from 24-38 students. Each grade has only one class and the teachers can thoroughly take care of the students, resulting in the efficiency of the students.
Seeing most children coming to the school on motorcycles without helmets worried her. She realizes that children using motorcycles as the main transportation from home to school are at risk. She still remembers the time when the whole family of a student from her school died from a motorcycle accident.
“It was last year. The boy lives with his father and grandmother. On the day of the accident, the father finished his daily routine work as a security guard in Nakhon Prathom province and picked up the mother and the boy from an apartment near the school intending to go back to Nakon Prathom province again. The motorcycle crashed into a bus and the entire family died. The parents had on their helmets while the boy didn’t. We don’t know if the boy would survive if he had worn a helmet. He might still live today,” Hatairat talks about the accident. “The boy was only in Grade 2. The news of the boy and his whole family passed away from this motorcycle accident really saddened me.”
She hopes that the school taking part in the 7 Percent project activities will help increase helmet use and raise awareness among her students and their parents, as a way to save the life of each child that travels on a motorcycle.
“The 7% Project is a good project with clear approaches to help save our children,” said the school principal. “When I told my students about the school joining the project activities and the methods to be implemented, they listened attentively and were convinced. They also agreed to take part in the activities and tell their friends about them.”
As part of the 7% Project, aiming to reduce child motorcycle injuries and fatality by increasing helmet use, Save the Children is currently holding student/teacher helmet ambassador trainings at the pilot schools in Bangkok, including Bang Chak (Komolpraset-utid). Using the Behavior Influence method as another way to influence the students and teachers, two students and two teachers from the selected schools are selected to be student and teacher ambassadors. The selected ambassadors will be joining the 7 Percent project activities in raising awareness of proper helmet use and its benefits. They will be trained on how they can give messages on the importance of helmet use to their peer at the school and their families at home.
However, she feels that the cost of the helmets could be viewed as extra expenses for the parents. “They may have a problem of having to pay for their child’s helmet. A helmet is quite expensive. Many families at this school are lower-middle-class families,” said Hatairat. “Besides it being the family extra expense, they see a child helmet as an extra burden to for them to carry with them everywhere they go after the child already goes to school.”
But she tries to convince the parents. “While I understand that the child helmet could be a little inconvenient for the parents to have to carry with them all day, I tell them that it’s for their child’s safety. It’s a very good option to help save their children from being injured and dead.
“I think the 7 Percent project by Save the Children could make a difference. At least, before the children leave their home to come to school, they are reminded to wear their helmets. They will realize that a helmet will help protect them,” Hatairat ended.