October 24, 2013, Phnom Penh, Cambodia – The leading Canadian-based financial services company, Manulife Cambodia, in collaboration with the Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation, held a “Helmets for Families” helmet handover ceremony at Wat Preah Put Primary School in Phnom Penh. On that occasion, 647 helmets were donated to students, teachers, and parents to promote road safety and to raise awareness around the issue of helmet use.
Wat Preah Put primary school is located in a high-density traffic area along a main road in Phnom Penh. Approximately 80 percent of students commute to school during rush hour on motorcycles and bicycles, very few of whom wear helmets. With this donation, “Helmets for Families” has provided helmets to 499 students, 48 teachers, and 100 mothers as well as helmet training sessions to reinforce the importance of helmet use and remind students, parents and educators of their responsibility to act as models of good behavior.
“Our vision is to help providing a better future for Cambodian families,” said Robert Elliott, CEO & GM of Manulife Cambodia. “Corporate social responsibility is not just a core value, it is our unwavering commitment. This is our second helmet donation with AIP Foundation this year. I believe that our donation today will help to build a community of safer and smarter road users.”
The ceremony was attended by over 200 community-members, including Deputy Governor of Phnom Penh H.E. Seng Ratanak, Secretary General of the National Road Safety Committee, H.E. Poeu Maly, and H.E. Major General Kim Yideth, representative of the General Commissariat of National Police.
“This Helmet Handover Ceremony to distribute 647 helmets to students, teachers and parents of Wat Phreah Put Primary School is an important step in promoting safe riding behavior to vulnerable road users including school children,” said Deputy Governor of Phnom Penh H.E. Seng Ratanak. “This event supports the Royal Cambodia Government’s effort to reduce road crash in Cambodia; and I would like to appeal to all parents and teachers to be a good role model to their students and children in helmet use and respect traffic law while driving.”
The helmet handover celebration included lessons on bicycle riding and pedestrian safety, drawing contests, student performances about helmet use, parent remarks, and the presentation of a certificate of appreciation from the school to representatives of Manulife. Follow up activities will include road safety quizzes, helmet drawings, essay contests, a parent-led helmet roadshow, community outreach, and a “my mom and helmet” forum. A training course for mothers will also be held and helmet monitoring will occur throughout the year.
“AIP Foundation greatly appreciates Manulife (Cambodia) PLC’s commitment to the “Helmets for Families” project,” said Kim Pagna, Cambodia Country Director of AIP Foundation. “The helmets donated today have the potential to save the lives of these children, parents, and teachers now and for years to come.”
In addition to sponsoring the program, Manulife employees have participated in the “Helmets for Families” program by painting road safety murals at schools, teaching students how to correctly wear their new helmets, and taking part in road safety trainings for students and mothers conducted by AIP Foundation.
About AIP Foundation
The Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP Foundation) is a U.S. registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that uses public-private partnerships, public awareness education, and school-based programs to reduce the rate of traffic injuries and fatalities in developing countries. AIP Foundation has offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Bangkok, Thailand. In 2001, AIP Foundation built its non-profit helmet assembly plant, manufacturing Protec brand tropical helmets in Vietnam. These helmets offer an environmentally appropriate, safe and affordable option for motorcycle and bicycle users.
In 2009, AIP Foundation, in collaboration with the FIA Foundation and the World Bank, launched the Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative (GHVI), an international coalition with the objective of “putting a helmet on every head in the Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020).” In May 2010, H.E Mr. Im Sethy, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, High Representative of Deputy Prime Minister H.E Mr. Sar Kheng, Minister of Interior launched the Cambodia Helmet Vaccine Initiative (CHVI) in Phnom Penh.