Rashi Anchalia, Fellow at HumanQind | Safe School Zone Project
Introduction Our project school is a government school for boys located very close to the market area in East Delhi District. It is situated between Laxmi Nagar and Mayur Vihar. The area is very crowded and there are sub-districts in the area named, Block A, B, C. Major populations of our students come from this walking, cycling etc. Relaxed afternoon the teachers of the school stand near the gate, interacting with the students and welcoming them into the school. As the bell rings students fall in line for the afternoon assembly and prayer after which they go back to their classes to start their day. Although the medium of learning and the language to converse with each other in Hindi, It’s fascinating to see that all the teachers encourage the students to speak in English.
As per our workshop, we realized a majority of students have started emphasizing their safe school zone since our last interaction with them. Small activity in each workshop was also planned to have an interactive session with them. Through this exercise, we tried to understand the child's understanding with regard to road safety and how they want to improve it with their, state of mind, wants, and wishes regarding making their school zone safer for them. It was a rather transforming experience for me to see how welcoming they were to learn more or listen to and participate in workshops or activities.
Make learning fun In order to teach children efficiently, we planned our workshop to transform learning into an amusing and interactive activity. Because when we teach children about something with only data and theory, they can be swiftly distracted without any specific reason and will not be engaged in the lesson anymore. To keep them interested such as creating a map together of your child’s everyday route, street names, relevant landmarks, and shops which your children usually visit and teach them about safety using the map. With these workshops, the aim was to strengthen their skills of reimaging, learning assessment, and approaches, and experiencing innovative and alternate modes of communication.
From the Eyes of the Students Children at the school wanted to refer School Zone to the area marked right from the school’s entrance to the nearest public transit node. This ensures those students, staying in the neighbourhood, walk to school and those commuting from longer distances get dropped safely at the beginning of the zone and walk the last stretch to school. Safe streets zone a child deserves but they are not been accessible to them. When we talk about traffic accidents involving children while crossing the road near the school are sometimes caused by drivers who could not see the presence of children in the middle of the road. These accidents are also caused by drivers who are not following the traffic rules such as speed limit and other traffic rules.
When we moved further with the workshop we talked about how roads were designed keeping the mind with regards to vehicle user rather than a pedestrian who walks on the road or crosses the road. Another occasion for accidents will come because the footpaths are blocked by vendors or rickshaws forcing children to walk on the road.
Conclusion We got the opportunity to conduct the Walk shop activity which was really enjoyed and appreciated by students. After the outdoor activity, we interacted with students from Class VI as we used to assemble in the computer lab and each student came up and shared their experience outside the school which regards liking and disliking their school area. We were absolutely stunned to witness how beautifully each child spoke. Students were filled with grace and their speech was full of enthusiasm and zeal. Another important observation we made was that the children were eager to write letters to their stakeholders regarding suggestions to put street lights outside the school area, zebra crossing and also cleaning their surroundings as they otherwise have no one to write to It was altogether a refreshing experience to get a sneak peek into the lives of our students which provided me experience illustrated the strength of human connection in overcoming barriers and obstacles and revealed appropriate ways in which I could work towards positive change in a country.