A 2016 study showed that every four minutes, one person loses his/her life due to a road accident in India. Road safety, despite being such an important issue, doesn’t find much importance among the public.
Rishabh Anand is one such individual who is on a mission to awaken people to the gravity of the situation. From the last five years, Rishabh has undertaken several initiatives to spread awareness about road safety. “Prayas-Ek Kadam Sadak Suraksha Ki Aur” is Rishabh’s brainchild. Under this initiative, Rishab and his team of volunteers visit schools and colleges to conduct workshops on road safety. The NGO, based primarily out of Ranchi, Jharkhand, has hit 250 schools and colleges since its inception in 2016.
One of the most interesting initiatives of this NGO is the playschool, named the ‘Cartoon Play School’, dedicated solely for teaching kids about road safety and traffic rules. Rishabh told The Logical Indian that it is the first of its kind playschool in India.
Playschool to develop traffic sense among kids
“It is a fact that what we learn during the early years of our lives, stays with us for a very long time. Prime examples being the alphabets and numbers. I realised that traffic sense is one of the topics which should be taught very early on in one’s life,” said Rishabh.
In this school, children are taught about traffic signals, speed breakers, traffic roads, etc., in a span of about one to one and a half year. When asked how children respond to these lessons, Rishabh said, “As opposed to popular belief that it is difficult to hold children’s attention over a seemingly mundane topic like traffic rules and safety, our experience has been completely different. To say that children were enthusiastic would be an understatement. The secret to this lies in the fact that we try to simulate traffic like situation, complete with ‘traffic parks’, toy cars, faux speed breaks and traffic lights. Our lesson plan too is heavily based on plays and games.”
Poster campaigns, cycleathons and more
Before taking to working towards increased awareness around traffic, Rishabh worked as a journalist. As part of his job, he lived in metropolitan cities in Delhi and Bengaluru. He realised that while the situation with respect to road safety was bad, however, at least there was a certain degree of awareness among people regarding the issue. However, the situation in smaller towns was worse.
That is when Rishabh moved to Ranchi, his hometown. He started with a poster campaign. When the cause and Rishabh’s efforts started gaining traction, he, along with police authorities and city municipality, organised cycleathons to raise awareness. Soon Rishabh and his team of volunteers started taking this awareness to schools, colleges, hostels and coaching centres. What started from Ranchi, has now spread to 4-5 cities including Jamshedpur and Bokaro.
“From 2019, we have also started giving counselling to people and their relatives involved in accidents. We give legal and medical counselling. Often people involved in major accidents slip into trauma. Even for close relatives of people who die in accidents stand this risk,” Rishabh added.
Road safety largely remains an unaddressed issue. Despite the serious nature of this cause, people do not talk about it enough. The Logical Indian appreciates Rishabh’s efforts towards changing it.