Helmet distribution program reaches out to rural communities

HCMC - AIP Foundation, in collaboration with the National Traffic Safety Committee and the Ministry of Education and Training, has expanded the "Helmets for Kids" program to rural communities in the provinces of Yen Bai, Thai Nguyen and Tuyen Quang, to focus on increasing the rate of children who wear helmets in areas where risks of road crashes and injuries are high but preventative action is low.

A helmet donation event was held to mark the expansion of the “Helmets for Kids” program in Yen Bai Province on November 13 – PHOTO: COURTESY OF AIP FOUNDATION

Each of these provinces is home to a significant number of ethnic minorities. The program, supported by Johnson & Johnson, delivers life-saving interventions such as helmet distribution and education activities focused on safe helmet use. The very first event of the program expansion was hosted in Yen Bai Province late last week.

The program aims at reducing brain injuries related to road crashes in school zones and the surrounding communities through the increased ratio of quality helmet use among children.

“The reality is that every day a child leaves his/her home to go to school without proper safety equipment such as a helmet, he/she is at risk on the road. We need to take an urgent, proactive role in empowering communities with proper road safety knowledge and resources on helmet use, whether it’s on a motorbike or bicycle, so that wearing a helmet becomes instinctive and natural rather than a novelty,” noted Jun Hong Park, managing director of Johnson & Johnson Vietnam.

“Something as simple as wearing a helmet can be the difference in that child coming back home to his/her family happy and healthy,” he added.

The program expansion comprises a helmet handover ceremony at each project school, accompanied by an edutainment event with a series of interactive games focusing on proper helmet use. Across the 16 schools, nearly 7,400 students, some 450 teachers and staff, local authorities and community members will participate in the edutainment activities.

“Education is fundamental in breaking the cycle of poverty. However, barriers such as unsafe commutes, lack of school zones, low community awareness in road safety and speed limit compliance, all prevent students and often their families from living a better life,” Na Huong, deputy CEO of AIP Foundation, shared.

“Everyone deserves equal access to the tools and resources in their community, especially education and knowledge. By focusing on equity, inclusivity, and diversity, we’re working toward this vision. Programs such as ‘Helmets for Kids’ help raise the quality of life among communities, especially for our young people,” she added.

The program does this by improving road safety knowledge, providing high-quality helmets to students and teachers at the program’s schools who become role models and also educating parents as key decision makers in their children’s helmet use. These approaches ensure communities are equipped and better able to reduce the risks of losing their main mode of transportation or medical costs, which would force them into deeper poverty.

The program has been supported by Johnson & Johnson since 2004. In 2020, it is expected to distribute over 5,700 helmets to children and teachers, in addition to providing tools and resources to ensure children in the community are commuting to school safety.