This year’s Hero We Care initiative saw school kids paint their dreams of a Delhi that offers safe, accident-free roads and a clean, green environment
The nip in the air was no deterrent for over 700 school children who gathered near the National War Memorial at the India Gate lawns to give expression to a collective dream – of safe, accident-free roads and a clean and green Delhi.
Kids between the age group of 11 and 14 years from over 400 schools across the Delhi-NCR region let their creative juices flow to participate in Kaleidoscope, the annual inter-school painting competition organized by Hindustan Times, together with Hero MotoCorp. This was part of the groups’ collective CSR (corporate social responsibility) campaign called Be A Road Hero 2.0 that urges everyone to lead by example in matters of road safety.
As the music band of Laxman Public School, Hauz Khas, struck up some beautiful inspirational notes, the children spread out their worksheets and got down to work. The ‘senior’ lot was given two topics -- ‘Be a Road Hero’ or ‘Perfect Traffic in My City’, while the ‘juniors’ had ‘My Favorite Outdoor Activity’ or ‘A Green Clean City’ to choose from.
A workshop for teachers on the subject of road safety was also conducted by the traffic police inspector Akhilesh Kumar Mishra and Vaishnavi Sayal, a member of the Indian Road Safety Campaign (IRSC). “This is a great initiative,” said Meenakshi Sharma, a teacher at Bloomfield Public School, Dilshad Garden. “After all, teachers have a great role to play in educating their wards on the importance of road safety.”
Pointing to the four students she was accompanying to the venue, Sharma smiled talking about how excited they were to be participating in this event. “And despite their exams that begin tomorrow, their parents had no objection in sending them here -- because experiences on platforms such as these always help in broadening the children’s views and perspectives about life.”
This was more than evident in what the young artists, who had more than an hour to work on the subject of their choice, were creating. And after handing over their artworks, they relaxed visibly and were soon interacting with children from other schools.
Discussing his work, Atulyaa Singh, 12, a student of class VIII at JL DAV Public School proudly spoke of his sketch-and-drawing combo depicting people who enjoyed following traffic rules. Fellow schoolmates, both 11-year-old Shweta Raj and Aman Kumar, 12, painted their dreams of a green city. Srisoniya Subramoniam, 15, of class IX at DPS Noida recreated a scene at a traffic signal with a girl riding a scooter as the central figure. 12-year-old Shreya Arora of class VII dwelt on the subject of drunken driving in her work.
The students’ attention was soon caught by a bunch of talented youngsters who took to the stage to present a ‘nukkad natak’ on the subject of road safety. Dressed in black kurtas and blue jeans, actors from Arvind Gaur’s Asmita Theatre group drew attention to the importance of matters such a observing traffic signals, wearing seat belts, not using mobile phones while driving, etc.
The event also included a road-safety workshop for students that stressed on the importance of wearing seat belts while driving a car and the use of helmets when on a two-wheeler. The children were also told to always stop to help victims of road accidents as doing this could save a precious life. The students also took a pledge to Be A Road Hero.
Finally, it was time for the judges -- Nupur Kundu and author and artist Bulbul Sharma – to announce the names of the 12 winners, six from each of the categories, whose work will also form part of the 2020 PACE calendar. Giving them all a cheer were Delhi Traffic Police’s Akhilesh Mishra traffic inspector-Tilak Marg, Senior officials of Hero Motocorp and HT PACE-head -- Education and PACE Annapurna Sehgal.
As it was time to leave, everyone was once again urged to motivate their family and friends to take a pledge to Be A Road Hero and make this year’s campaign, like the one last year that saw 27,000 pledges taken, a success.Meanwhile, this road-safety campaign will continue in schools through audio-visual and quiz programmes.