“I have seen an ambulance stuck in the traffic so many times, unable to move forward. And we know how each minute lost can be the difference between life or death,” says R A Aishwarya Varma, a fifth-grade student at Oakridge International School, Visakhapatnam. Aishwarya is one of the volunteers of the ‘Give way to ambulance’ campaign organised by her school. .
There are over 2,000 people, who have pledged their support to the campaign. On their part, students from the primary and secondary school talk to those they encounter about the importance of giving way to ambulances. They also distribute badges and car stickers proclaiming the same message.
The campaign is being organised in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Mohali. “An ambulance should ideally reach any place within 15-20 minutes after the distress call and take the patient to a hospital within 20 minutes. However, this has become harder to implement due to lack of discipline on the road and an increase in traffic,” says Nalin Kan Srivastava, School Director.
According to Nalin, the three Oakridge schools in Visakhapatnam will keep the campaign going for a year. A long term engagement is must to make a difference. Sixth-grader Rajvir Nethala is making an interactive story using Scratch, a free programming tool, to spread awareness about their mission. “It’s a conversation between two friends discussing how the increase in traffic has led to a rise in the number of deathsin the ambulance,” he explains.
As a part of the campaign, students interacted with Mayank Kumari Deo of the royal family of Jeypore in Odisha; P Basanth Kumar, Metropolitan Commissioner for Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority; ; Kinjarapu Prabhakar, Assistant Commissioner of Police and other eminent personalities. According to Nalin, the idea behind connecting with such personalities was to motivate children and leverage their influence in the community.