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Road Safety Session at Netsurion

Sep 1, 2017

My old colleague Soumitra Sen (Soms) reached out to me last month.  He is now the General Manager at Netsurion.  A young engineer at his office had met with an accident riding a 2 wheeler, and Soms asked me to sensitize his team about road safety.

We planned the session at 6 in the evening to get good participation during the end of one shift and start of another.
Our presentation is now updated with the statistics from 2015, including the age and gender distribution.

It was heartening to see about 70 employees joining the session. The concept of Defensive Driving will now be well understood by the attendees! I liked the engagement during the discussion after the talk. The topics included “How to define overspeeding?”, “Bad time management is the cause”, “Potholes and bad roads”.

As Soms observed “We spend a lot of time of our life on the roads! It is imperative that we pay attention to safety on the roads”.

Thanks to Soms and Geetha for organizing the event, and their whole-hearted support to The Arundhati Foundation.

A few pics from the event :

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Arundhati – The Morning Star

In February, this year,  we brought out a book. This is a selection of Aru’s thoughts and ideas reflected in her stories, poems, scripts, and sketches. It has a few tributes from the people she touched. A tiny part that we share, and, in doing so, hope to keep her memory alive and give you a glimpse into our morning star. The picture above is the cover page designed by Ms. Manjiri Sabnis.
Do read an article in SiyaWoman about Aru and her foundation.
Aru’s writings will soon be published every Friday on this site.   A big thank you to Lakshmi Ananthamurthy and Namita of SiyaWoman for your encouragement.
Update :  Selected writings from Aru’s book can be seen here on SiyaWoman
Please spread the word. Share this article and help us spread the message on Road Safety.
Thank you for your support and kindness.
 
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Road Safety @ Mushtifund Aryaan Higher Secondary School

July 18, 2017

Mr Vyankatesh Prabhudesai, an alumnus of IIT Mumbai and IISc, has been the driving force behind the Aryaan Study Circle in Goa. With the vision of directing the students potential to the optimum, the Aryaan Study Circle and The Mushtifund Saunstha joined hands and floated a new unique and unaided higher secondary school named The Mushtifund Aryaan Higher Secondary School, Panaji to provide a better ambiance to the students of Goa.  The school has shown an impressive track record over the past several years.

A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to address about 100 students of Std XI aspiring to the best institutes in the country.

The first part of the talk was motivational :  thriving on the challenge, continuously raising the bar for oneself, self-confidence and self-discipline, and enjoying the journey.

We then segued to Road Safety. Shubhangi linked the two talks by urging the students to ensure that their hard work is not upset by lack of caution on the road. We trimmed our talk to address 5 key points :
* Protect yourself First : Wear a helmet / seatbelt
* Slow Down : A normal speed with get you where you want
* None for the Road : Drinking and Driving do not mix
* Say No to Distracted Driving : Hands Free is not Risk Free
* Mind the Gap : Keep the distance and be aware of blind spots

To tune the talk to the, we discussed with the help of Physics and Biology ( difficulties from skull and head injuries, effect of speed on stopping distance, field of vision and blind spots, effect of alcohol on our body, distance traveled when distracted for a couple of seconds). We also tried to inspire the would-be engineers with some examples of innovations in road safety ( the seat belt, intelligent braking )

The children were very receptive, and their response was very heartening to us. The boy who stood up to give the vote of thanks, tore off his prepared speech and spoke spontaneously, urging his classmates to take road safety seriously.  The faculty also joined in signing the pledge.

As always, our fervent hope is that our effort influences at least 1 person to take a positive step towards safety of self and others on the road.

We thank Mr. Vyankatesh Prabhudessai for giving us this opportunity to address the students at Mushtifund Aryaan, and we hope to make this a lasting partnership.

Here are some pictures from the event.

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ADITI : Help spread knowledge

This year, The Arundhati Foundation was fortunate to receive funds from many friends. Many well wishers donated to help a cause. Sponsoring textbooks for students of HINDU BAALIKA PATHASHALA, one of the oldest schools in Bengaluru. The students studying in this school come from an under-priveleged background but have a zest to study and learn new things. We realized this fact during our interaction with the students during our Road safety lectures.

We could sponsor all textbooks for a hundred students. We would especially like to thank Mr Vijay and Mrs Manorama Joshi for their contribution to this cause.

Every person who donated towards this cause was given a copy of ‘ARUNDHATI:THE MORNING STAR’a compilation of select writings penned down by Aru.

Ms Noorein Fathima was provided a full scholarship to cover her tuition fees for standard tenth.
Noorien, a bright young girl had scored the second highest marks in standard ninth. We decided to encourage Noorien as the girl who stood first had already received a full scholarship for tenth standard from another patron.
Noorien who is a budding badminton player, hopes to do well this year and make her parents and school proud.
Here is wishing Noorien and all the students of HBP School a fruitful year.

To all our friends a grateful thank you for supporting Aru’s foundation and showering her with your love. We look up to Aru to guide us at every step and give us the strength and wisdom to do our duty of giving back to the society.

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COLORS: Campaign to pass the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2017

As you are well aware that the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2017 which was passed in the Lok Sabha, is most likely to be brought up in the Rajya Sabha in the upcoming monsoon session commencing on July 17th. To continue our movement for the passage of the Bill, we have joined hands with SaveLife in starting 2 campaigns on behalf of the COLORS alliance.
 
1. A campaign via the roadsafetyatrisk.in website where we are asking people to write to the Rajya Sabha MPs to pass the Bill. On behalf of the COLORS alliance, a similar exercise was done earlier asking people to write to the Prime Minister. There was an overwhelming response to the same, and the Prime Minister in his Mann Ki Baat had mentioned that he received a number of letters regarding improving road safety. 
 
The same website has been tweaked to get people to send letters to the Rajya Sabha MPs. Since this will be a COLORS initiative, Arundhati Foundation’s logo is displayed on the website along with the other partners.

 

2. To draw further attention, 4 billboards around the Parliament area will have messages focusing on the issue and reminding the Parliament to pass the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2017.  Here are a few pics.

A small effort through our COLORS coalition, and thanks to Saji Cherian ( SaveLife ) for driving it.

Do extend your support.

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Classrooms with a Cause : Follow up on the Road Safety Audit

 

We are happy to report on the progress following the road safety audit.

First, the fallen no-entry signpost was rectified. Then, a CCTV was installed at the junction.
And now, Zebra crossings have been painted at the schools and at the junctions.

Here are a few pics to share.

Just goes to show that the citizens’ involvement makes a difference. We are thankful to the Bangalore traffic police who gave due attention to the recommendations of the road safety audit conducted by the students of St Meera’s.

 

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Panipuri for Potholes!

Mar 13, 2017 : The Arundhati Foundation partnered with Qwikcilver Solutions Pvt Ltd in this unique experience with CSR. The Holi celebrations at Qwikcilver this year went beyond the filling of bellies to filling potholes in and around the city of Bangalore.

Besides the music, food and entertainment which were a part of the Holi festivities, the fundraising activities included a game of lotto and food stalls selling delicious snacks ranging from pani puris, bhel puris, kachoris, samosas, ice creams, gulab jamuns, lemonade. The funds raised were handed over to Prathaap B Rao “Pothole Raja” for his initiative in making the city of Bangalore pothole-free. [  Should one spot a pothole one could take a picture and ‘WhatsApp’ it to 814POTHOLE (the letters correspond with the numbers 7684653) and Pothole Raja would attempt to fix it ]

Prathaap spoke to the Qwikcilver team about his initiative (in the pic above), and the volunteers joined forces with him. The group, working in small teams, worked over the next few weekends to fix 8 potholes in the vicinity of the Koramangala office. See the pics below.

Thanks to Prathaap and Qwikcilver for this fantastic effort. A special thanks to Anu Mathew – head of HR at Qwikcilver – this idea was her brainchild.

This is a great way to get people involved in CSR related to road safety, and make a difference on the ground! Hope other organizations also take up similar initiatives.

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Classrooms with a Cause : Teacher Leader Award

From Sept 2016 to Feb 2017 we had the privilege of working  on the Safer Roads Safer India campaign, to create awareness and make a difference on road safety.  Today, there was a wrap-up ceremony marking the close of the program for this academic year.  Shubhangi’s work and contribution was recognised and appreciated, as you can see in the photograph.

Thanks to UL, YSA and TRAX for the support and opportunity.

And many thanks to our young student volunteers. It was your effort, and willingness to make the difference, that really drove us.

Here is a clip that summarises our journey in this campaign.

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Follow Savita’s Lead : take responsibility for the roads in your area

A lot of people tell me that they would like to help me with the foundation or with handling the unfortunate loss of my daughter, but they simply don’t know how..
Well, I have some friends who do both..help me with emotional support and support the cause of The Arundhati foundation. 
They support the foundation by trying to improve traffic safety taking some simple but effective steps and persevering .

One of my support in Mumbai is Savita Thakur, my friend since my school days. 
Savita regularly monitors the roads near her place of work and involves the corporator in helping repair them. The picture above shows the map of the area around Gulmohar Road which was her focus.

Her actions make a difference.
The potholes were filled within two weeks. 
I share her letter to the corporator Shri Dilip Patel and the before and after photographs of the problem areas on the roads..
Shri. Dilip Patelji,

I am a resident of Juhu Scheme.
Yesterday, I saw a young mother riding a two wheeler suddenly lose control of her vehicle and narrowly miss falling on the road. Startled, she stopped and turned back to see what it was. It was a pothole on 11th Cross Gulmohar Rd. Had she fallen, she would have been run over by the car behind her.
Until two years back, I felt the roads and their condition was not my responsibility.
In Sept 2014, my friend’s daughter, Arundhati Tambwekar, 24 years of age was riding pillion to her medical school in Vellore. Both the driver and she had worn helmets. Their two-wheeler lost control over a pothole on the road. Arundhati was run over by a truck.
My friend lost her precious daughter and the country an amazing doctor . She had just been awarded a gold medal by the most prestigious medical school in the country.
We read reports of accidents caused by bad roads in Mumbai ever so often. How can such avoidable tragedies be called accidents? These avoidable tragedies are NOT ACCIDENTS.
Dilipji, in the past, you have always promptly acted upon issues brought to your notice. I am therefore confident that you will ensure that those who are entrusted with maintaining our roads do their job and no more lives are lost due to bad roads.
For your reference, have attached herewith photographs of a fraction of the innumerable potholes encountered across a span of just a kilometer in Juhu Scheme.
Sincerely,

Savita Thakur

for  The Arundhati Foundation

 

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Classroom with a Cause: Reclaim our Footpaths

Jan 15, 2017

The Arundhati Foundation took up the task of cleaning the footpath on Cambridge Road. It was strewn with debris, stones , bricks and sand after sewage pipes were laid on the road. As a result, a lot of people including children from a neighbouring school were forced to walk on a busy road.

The kids of St Meera’s School and PU College willingly joined us to lend a helping hand to senior volunteers.

I share this post by Ms Pratibha who happened to pass by. She stopped to inquire and was generous enough to get juice and biscuits for the youngsters.

“Aunty thank you for allowing us to help” the kids said to me. “It was a very satisfying experience to something good. And when people stopped by to appreciate us, it made us feel even better”
They further told me that they would like to volunteer for the foundation to spread the message on Road Safety !
I am so touched! These kids made my day.
The Arundhati Foundation thanks these kids and Ms Prathiba for their gesture.

 

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