MUSKAAN : Foundation for Road Safety has grown gradually over the 18 years of its existence and has developed its initiatives and processes through self study, mentoring by experts and information gathering from authentic sources. The education program which was started in the very second year was an innovation as the issue itself was in its nascent and elementary attention stage in the realm of social issues where it had not captured the attention of general public as well as policy makers. Muskaan’s National Award in the year 2010 came because of its systematic , age specific knowledge and consciousness about road safety. In fact all the later education modules have been developed from the school based education module. It was also the beginning of awareness about the tragic and serious proportions of this widely human issue. Now as a mature not for profit organization it has four basic focus areas and these are : Training/ education, awareness/ community awareness and Campaigns / and Advocacy
Training involves familiarizing the road users with the basic tenets and regulations of road safety. This diverse group consists of road users like , commercial and private drivers, corporate executives, students with a special focus on senior classes, Students in various universities, teachers and police personnel . A very proud addition to the training segment is ‘Army Personnel.’ Muskaan’s team of trainers are now regularly being called by the army units based all over India.
An interesting practical program of ‘how to drive safely’ is imparted to the youth in colleges, universities and corporate offices. This is conducted in a wide open space with about 30 bike riders registered for training within the college / university premises. This is being done by trainers who are trained by Hero Moto Corps trainers(?).
Education Awareness : Through our education and awareness programs we engage students with different aspects of road safety in schools, colleges and universities. Our Road Safety Orientation Programs’ focus is on safe behaviour on the roads, pitfalls of not following the rules, its legal implications and the health related issues that are far reaching and damaging for life. Basic Life Saving training( BLS) too is a part of this. A life size mannequin is used to teach resuscitation and other such functions on it and each participant is given hands on training on the mannequin. Interactive methods like quiz, Q & A sessions, real life story sharing, videos, short films and games make the education program interesting.
Our awareness programs, basically done in community spaces are aimed at general public and mostly rural road users. The open space nature of the program is such that use of road safety songs by folk artists, puppet shows, posters, acrobats and interactions with the audience work well to generate awareness about road safety and hold the audience attention.
Advocacy: Through our advocacy for a particular aspect of road safety, a dialogue has to be created with the community, influence public policy making and generate positive action in the field of road safety. Conferences and seminars work in building public opinion, capacity building of stakeholder department officials and initiate action at government level. Working with elected leaders helps in change of policy for better and best practices on roads.
On road Campaigns and drives for safe practices (Helmet, Seatbelt ) and a plea for respecting the law have a direct impact on the road users. The colourful and youthful demeanour of Muskaan’s volunteers, holding placards and trying to have a dialogue with road users has always worked in generating interesting in the message.