Keeping ISF Students Safe on the Road

This week is the Global Week of Road Safety. Anyone who has ever been to Phnom Penh will tell you that traffic here is chaotic. Motos and cars whizz by without drivers paying much attention to traffic lights, right of way or even which side of the road they drive on. Every day we have a lot of students who need to cross these dangerous streets to come to school. When they are not in school, some of them spend their time on the street, helping their parents to scavenge the plastic bottles on the streets for money. This leaves them very vulnerable to traffic accidents. We realized most of our students are not yet aware of the concept of danger in traffic and they don’t have the road safety skills to identify safe places to walk on the streets or cross streets.

This is especially a problem for our students at State School. When students graduate from our Catch-Up programme and integrate into government-sponsored State School, they often have to travel longer distances to get to class. In March 69 of our students received bicycles to help them on their way. When we distribute these we always give them a helmet and tell them about dangers in traffic, how to ride safely and the traffic laws. We tell them to wear their helmets every time they ride their bikes or are on the back of a moto.

For this Global Week of Road Safety, ISF is paying extra attention to keeping students safe on the road. Both our schools have organized events to teach our students about how to be safe in traffic, to ensure that our students are safe when they are traveling on the street. We taught them about the traffic lights and positive road safety behaviour. Then we did some practical training together on the street, like crossing streets and riding a bicycle around.

Raksa, one of our students, lives at Chak Angkre Chrom community that is about 2k away from our school in Chbar Ampov. Every day he rides his bicycle to come to school and back. After receiving the training he said “I often have trouble when I need to cross the streets because most of the drivers travel very fast and I don’t know when it ‘s safe for me to cross. But now I feel very confident and know how keep myself safe in traveling on the streets or crossing the road.”