Sumana Rao & Chandana Raju
Safety Club Sahas Foundation is a Non-profit organization training children between the age group of 2 to 8 basic safety rules.
Statistics show that over 60,000 children in India die from accidents every year and many more are injured and disabled for life due to accidents that can be prevented. 1 in 2 children (53% of boys and girls) in India face some form of abuse while growing up.
With borewells turning into death traps, roads becoming increasingly hazardous with increase in motor vehicles every year, families becoming nuclear with both parents working, and where humans turn into predators, the situations and statistics are only getting worse.
There is no formal training that a child goes through in India to be aware of a good touch or a bad touch, and how to react when someone makes you uncomfortable. While parents are protective of their children and will give their lives to keep their children safe, they do not have a handy tool or book to review and explain the safety concepts to young children with ease and without inhibition.
Parents at times find it difficult to address some of these issues with kids (in spite of our education and exposure). Even worse is when it comes to the underprivileged children, addressing these issues is a luxury due to lack of education, exposure and lifestyle.
Keeping the above facts in mind, the founders – Chandana Raju and Sumana Rao wanted to empower children with safety skills so that they are safe always and everywhere. As a 1st step to the solution, they authored a children’s book called “Safety Club” which can be used as a tool for parents and teachers to educate children on critical safety skills through attractive illustrations and small and witty poems. The book is child friendly with intuitive illustrations and covers topics that include safety at home, on the road, safety when the kids are on their own and finally makes the children aware of their responsibility to keep the planet safe. The book also contains important numbers to remember, and phone and internet safety and finally activities at the end that can help them internalize safety concepts. The illustrations are so intuitive that a young child between the age of 2-7 will be able to see the visuals and grasp the concepts. It was also done keeping in mind children who cannot read yet due to their age or literacy, so they can understand the concepts through the illustrations even if they cannot read.
While in the US, Sumana had the opportunity to research several safety programs like the ‘Good Touch and Bad Touch’ program administered in the US schools and we have worked with several educators in US and India to come up with an effective safety skills program that can be implemented with the young children of India. We started Sahas Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the goal of empowering every child across India with safety skills, so that they can keep themselves safe and reduce accidents and abuse incidents. While starting the non-profit organization, one of the main goals was to educate underprivileged children who have very limited knowledge and awareness of the safety concepts.
Our Mission is to empower every child in India with safety skills, so they can be safe always.
Our Goal is to empower as many as children with safety skills and to increase awareness for child safety in local communities.
How we plan on going about empowering children with safety skills:
We are distributing/selling the Safety Club books in schools. (When bought in bulk for educational purpose at schools, it will come with a CD for the teachers, which will guide them to conduct the safety class. Safety Club is taking a ‘train the teacher/trainer approach with getting the book out to the largest number of children in the shortest possible time), through the following means:
Individual copies of the book are available for sale at places like Walden, Treasure House at Saptaparni in Hyderabad. The proceeds from the book sales are being used to distribute books at no cost to underprivileged children across the country.
Corporate Sponsorships: We are looking at Corporate Sponsors to adopt communities and sponsor kids in schools within that community.
Individual sponsors can adopt schools of their choice based on the number of kids in this age group, which fits their budget, for distributing the safety club books. Teacher training guides will be provided to individuals who would like to volunteer to conduct a workshop at schools of their choice.
Sale of books to schools: The books are being sold to schools that can afford the books.
Through organizations such as, Round Table, Rotary Club, etc. that fund good causes in the education sector, and who have adopted schools all over, have shown keen interest and want to organize a drive in all their schools.
As part of the safety program, we will provide schools with the “Safety Club” book for all the students and a handout (questionnaire/CD) for the teachers on facilitating discussion about the concepts in the book, a video for the teachers on how to conduct a safety workshop and a PowerPoint presentation that can be reviewed with children to engage the children while discussing the safety concepts. We recommend that one school period of 45 minutes to be dedicated to reviewing the concepts in the book every school year.
Teachers who’ve read the Safety Club book and the self-help training guide and conducted Safety training within schools in Andhra Pradesh, have given us very positive feedback on the value of the safety skills training imparted to the students. Children have reacted with great enthusiasm and excitement, as this has been a fun and educational way to imbibe safety concepts so essential to the survival and safety of a child.
The CD we provide for the teachers will have an introduction to the program, the training methodology to engage children and facilitate discussion, and a video that can be played to children to teach the safety concepts in the absence of a trainer. The book is now available in English, Telugu and Kannada. We are looking at coming out with a Urdu version shortly too.
To support the cause, please ‘like us’ on Facebook and share our page with your friends to increase awareness for the initiative:https://www.facebook.com/Safetyclubforkids
Background about the Founders of Sahas Foundation
Chandana Raju completed her MS in Project Management from
George Washington University, BE Civil from Hyderabad C.B.I.T. She is a director admin/HRD for PLRC, a family run business, focusing on real estate/construction for over the last 50 years. Giving back to society was always a big part of her thought process and now those thoughts’ are being put into action through Safety Club.
Sumana Rao has done her MBA and MS in Information Systems from University of Texas and works as the VP of Sales for Trade Service a company based out of California.
While in the US, Sumana and Chandana had the opportunity to research several safety programs like the ‘Safe and Unsafe Touch’ program administered in the US schools and we have worked with several educators in US and India to come up with an effective safety skills program that can be implemented to the children of India.