The Vietnamese school year began in September. AIP Foundation collaborated with its partners to bring thousands of helmets to young students in Vietnam through the Helmets for Kids program. The goal is to equip students with helmets so that they may be protected from head injuries and fatalities for the remainder of the year.
The first week of September was an exciting period for students at Trung Vuong and Ai Quoc Primary School—it was time for the Helmets for Kids kick-off ceremonies! On September 9th, 1,925 students at Trung Vuong Primary School, located in Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, received high-quality helmets from AIP Foundation. The ceremony was filled with students’ speeches and performances that demonstrated the importance of safe roads and quality helmets.
Students at Ai Quoc Primary School, which is located in Hai Duong Province, have been the beneficiaries of the Helmets for Kids program for over three years. In the program’s first year, all students and teachers at Ai Quoc Primary School received helmets and road safety education. For the second and third program years, helmets were donated to first graders; new teachers; and students from second to fifth grade who had outgrown, lost, or damaged their helmets. 882 helmets have been donated to Ai Quoc Primary School students over the past three years.
On September 16th, a ceremony was held to renew school excitement for road safety and bring 240 new helmets and educational materials to students.
In addition to helmet ceremonies, AIP Foundation conducted head size measurement activities for two primary schools in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City. This activity is vital because it ensures that each student receives a properly-sized helmet that will protect them from head injury in a crash. Volunteers visited the two project schools and measured the head sizes of more than 2,000 students for an upcoming helmet donation.
We hope that 2014-2015 will be another fascinating school year for students at our Helmets for Kids project schools. These students will not only receive new helmets as part of their school uniforms, but learn life-saving traffic knowledge and skills to become safe road users. Help us to continue the momentum and support helmet safety for children by donating now!
As part of our efforts to protect children on the road in Vietnam, AIP Foundation conducts training workshops for journalists and policy makers with the aim of building capacity and enhancing the implementation of child helmet regulation and awareness raising. The trainings are part of our “Children also need a helmet” National Campaign, and provide participants with road safety and helmet use knowledge in order to enable them to maximize their roles in road safety behavior change communications and child helmet use promoting actions.
As the results of our trainings conducted in three major cities (Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, and Hanoi) in 2013, the government and journalist trainees reported that they have effectively applied what they learned in their work and found these takeaways extremely useful. Within six months after the trainings, the journalists produced 80 news articles, features, and TV documentaries promoting child helmet use awareness. Meanwhile, the government officials applied the training takeaways in a variety of activities, such as training others, developing communications plans, and assessing the current helmet use situation. These exciting outcomes are tangible indicators of our program’s efficiency and incentives for us to conduct more capacity building programs.
From the success of previous program, AIP Foundation is bringing capacity building trainings to six additional provinces in Vietnam. In June 2014, we met with road safety stakeholders, including government representatives, and the local media in these provinces. At the meeting, provincial governors showed their interest in the project and requested AIP Foundation to conduct road safety programs for local primary schools. Each province expressed their commitment to developing an action plan to increase local child helmet rates.
Our efforts to put a helmet on every child and protect children from brain injury cannot be achieved without the critical support and coordination of our stakeholders, especially media members and government officials. Our cooperation has been generating positive impacts and bringing us closer to a future of safer roads for children.
This year, AIP Foundation has more support than ever before for helmet safety for children in Vietnam!
In March, AIP Foundation representatives attended workshops on child helmet use along with key stakeholders, including the World Health Organization and Vietnam Red Cross. At the workshops, stakeholders brainstormed solutions to advocate for enforcement of child helmet regulation across the country. The workshops resulted in commitment from all stakeholders to follow-up on specific actionable items to increase child helmet use rates nationwide. AIP Foundation has since developed a concrete action plan to continue advocacy and targeted interventions in 2014 and beyond.
AIP Foundation has also increased its efforts to encourage parents to be role models for their children by wearing standard helmets. On March 28, AIP Foundation organized a stakeholder orientation workshop to launch the new Helmets for Families program, which not only provides students and teachers with standard helmets, but also offers parents the opportunity to exchange their low quality helmets with standard ones at a subsidized price. This program aims to change behavior among children and parents, as well as raise awareness about the safety benefits of helmets that meet the national standard.
As AIP Foundation donates more and more helmets to children in Vietnam each year, it is important that it increases support for helmet safety for children. With more stakeholders, partners, and supporters dedicated to the cause, the greatest impact is achieved: children’s lives saved. Help us to continue the momentum and support helmet safety for children by donating now!
Throughout the past year, AIP Foundation implemented numerous traffic safety interventions in Vietnam aimed at protecting children from road crashes. The last few months of 2013 were no exception; thousands of children received life-saving traffic safety knowledge and skills to carry with them into the new year.
In Ha Tinh Province, more than 10,000 students and teachers from 14 primary schools received helmets and traffic safety education. The project targeted schools located on dangerous roads with high student accident rates. By the end of the year, helmet wearing rates among target students increased to over 90 percent. According to government statistics, no road accidents occurred among these students from 2012 to 2013. On November 30, AIP Foundation and key stakeholders from the government and private sector organized a closing ceremony for the project. This year, the project will continue at all 14 schools and expand to other schools in Ha Tinh Province. By continuing the project at these schools, traffic safety lessons will be reinforced and the schools will become models for road safety in the community.
The last few months of 2013 was also a time for AIP Foundation to reflect on the year and prepare for the future. On December 5, AIP Foundation organized a review workshop with support from government agencies to review activities at five project schools in Dong Nai. Project coordinators also visited the schools to conduct student and parent interviews and focus groups in order to improve next year’s activities.
In an end-of-the-year celebration, 4,500 students and parents joined “Kids love helmets” family days in Ho Chi Minh City on December 14 and 22. At the family days, participants had the chance to have fun while learning about road safety and the importance of helmets through activities like puzzles, helmet decorating, and flash mob dancing. These events were part of the “Children also need a helmet” public awareness campaign, a national campaign that began in 2011 with the goal of improving helmet wearing among children, correcting parents’ misconceptions about child helmet use, and increasing awareness about road safety. Phase III of the campaign ran from September to December 2013 and included activities such as airing TV commercials, installing billboards, organizing information sessions, holding contests, and increasing police enforcement.
All in all, 2013 was an important year for road safety in Vietnam. AIP Foundation distributed more helmets to children than ever before, and child helmet wearing rates increased to over 90 percent among target students. However, with steadfast and generous support from individuals and sponsors, 2014 is shaping up to be an even better year for safety on Vietnam’s roads.
After helmets are donated: following up with student and teacher crash cases
During August and September we revisited 32 Helmets for Kids project schools in the Ha Tinh, Dong Nai, and Quang Binh provinces of Vietnam to check on helmet use rates follow-up with road safety education. During these visits, we were told of 30 incidents of students (and 1 teacher) of project schools being involved in traffic crashes. In all 30 crashes there was not a single head injury- every individual walked away from the scene thanks to the helmet they received as a donation.
As much as we love children’s excitement and joy at receiving helmet donations, seeing them continue to wear their helmets throughout the year and learning about instances that these helmets saved their lives never fails to move us.
Here are a few of their stories:
On September 14th, fourth grader Pham Minh Thuan was riding on a motorcycle with his sister near their home when another motorcyclist collided into them and they fell into the street. Thuan sustained some scratches on his arm but no head injury thanks to the helmet he received as a donation.
On August 26th, third grader Nguyen Thi Thuy Dung was riding her bicycle to school when she collided with another bicyclist and fell down onto the sidewalk. Her head hit the pavement but she was not seriously injured because she was wearing the helmet she received as a donation. Dung walked away from the accident with a few scratches and made it to school.
Second grader Phan Thi Khanh Linh was riding home from the park by motorcycle with her mother. A dog ran into their path and they were unable to avoid it. Linh fell off of the motorcycle and sprained her ankle. Thanks to the helmet she was wearing, she did not sustain a serious injury.
This July, Nguyen Thanh Huong, teacher at So 1 Thach Ha primary school in Ha Tinh, was travelling home to her village when she collided with a motorcyclist driving the wrong way down a one-way street. She fell from her motorcycle with such force that the hard shell of her helmet was broken. The helmet she received as a donation absorbed the full impact of the collision, and she walked away from the crash with only a few scratches on her arm.
These are just a few stories we collected. The helmets we donate always come with a lesson in traffic safety, and we hope that these lessons prevent most of our target population from even being involved in crashes to begin with.
In addition to providing helmets to students and teachers, we are expanding to donate helmets to as many mothers as we can.
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