Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Vietnam:
“Every year over 12,00 people die on roads and 30,00 are seriously injured..most of these cases could have been prevented by simply wearing a helmet…Wear a helmet. There are no excuses.” - 2007 Public Service Announcement by Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, Vietnam Helmet Wearing Coalition, and National Traffic Safety Committee.
This was a public service announcement by Asia Injury Prevention Foundation in 2007 to spread awareness about the life-saving impact of wearing helmets. Instead of 12,000, now 11,000 people die per year on roads. When I arrived in Vietnam, I was shocked by the chaos of street traffic and the number of children I saw riding motorbikes with their parents and not wearing helmets. On Friday, Apri 6, I was able to spend the morning with Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, meet staff, and see their programs in action.
Not only was I able to visit a school benefitting from AIP Foundation's "Click On Safety", "Helmets For Kids", and "Safe Routes to School" programs, I was able to sit with Executive Director, Mirjam, and Development Coordinator, Aaron, to learn about all of the projects, public awareness campaigns, successes, and challenges of AIP Foundation. AIP Foundation was able to accelerate approval of the Vietnam Helmet Law and because of this, helmet wearing has increased 10% to 98% by adults. AIP Foundation now works with the mass media to create awareness campaigns about how wearing a helmet can save lives.
At the end of the visit, I was able to learn more about Protec, a non-profit arm of AIP Foundation that is increasing quality and standard in the helmet industry in Vietnam. Protec helmets are the "world's first "tropical" motorcycle helmet designed...low cost, lightweight...appropriate for warm climates" via AIP brochure. Protec is a social business that reinvests all profits back into AIP Foundation to help create self-sustainability as well as hire disabled workers to provide opportunities for the disadvantaged.
It is unfathomable to understand the importance of helmet-wearing unless one has been to Vietnam and driven through traffic on a motorbike. Motorbikes are the main means of transportation for people in Vietnam. The law currently only requires adults and children over 6 to wear helmets, but many kids older than 6 still do not wear helmets and the law is not effectively enforced. This was similar to my experience in Cambodia, where I saw a majority of not only children but also adults not wearing helmets. I now own my very own helmet for the remainder of my time in Southeast Asia with GlobalGiving - and it's a Protec helmet.
To learn more about my experience with AIP Foundation - click here.