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The story so far and dreams ahead!

Children are bundles of innocence shrouded in dependence on adults for their very survival and wellbeing
12:00 AM Apr 10, 2024 IST | Dr Raashid Javaid Fazili
the story so far and dreams ahead

Months later, I achieved success in motivating the Help Poor Voluntary Trust, a popular health-NGO of the valley, to lend support to the initiative. HPVT published the "Save the Kids" educative pamphlet[5] with textual and graphic depiction of the common modes of accidents in children in our society and the call for action to prevent these.


The pamphlet features English, Urdu and Kashmiri sections, and has received warm appreciation from its recipients throughout. Some 3000 copies of the pamphlet were printed in the first phase which were distributed over a span of one year in one-to-one interactions and various public gatherings in schools, medical camps, and meetings of volunteers of a couple of local NGOs.


Simultaneously, a PowerPoint presentation entitled, "ACCIDENTS IN CHILDREN. . . . . . .A PASSIONATE APPEAL FOR PREVENTION!" was designed and delivered before a number of public gatherings of teachers, parents, and volunteers.

The presentation discusses the various important aspects of the topic including medical, social and emotional burden of accidents in children, their causes, predisposing factors and common modes and patterns in our society as well as the ways and mechanisms to prevent specific accident-types.


The presentation underscores the importance of prevention through community-action as the standard of care of children, achievable through education of children and their caregivers and adoption of proper safety measures in various domestic and outdoor settings.


Introducing and promoting concepts of self-safety among older children is an important activity of the initiative. We have initiated this with a couple of children who are trained to speak briefly about safety and accident, in their morning school-assemblies.


In August 2023, the Save Kids Initiative received a shot in the arm when Hope & Health, a local NGO dedicated to the welfare and wellbeing of children, decided to adopt and patronize this initiative thereby bolstering our endeavours toward higher professional and operational standards.


Hope & Health, which has been running a free Kids' Heart Surgery Program for underprivileged children suffering from congenital heart diseases for last two years, has formed a volunteer group dedicated to spreading and strengthening the Save Kids Initiative, that plans to conduct the following programs for making our beloved children safe :

  1. To continue spreading awareness regarding child safety through individual and collective programs by distribution of pamphlets and powerpoint presentations.
  2. Visits to schools to interact with students, teachers, parents, drivers and managerial staff to generate awareness and achieve behavioural modification among children and their carers to keep all the children safe and protected from accidents and mishaps. Students and teachers are motivated to hold programs like short speeches, quizzes, seminars, role-plays, first-aid and basic life support training activities, etc for building skills and capacities of students and adults associated with the educational sector in the domain of prevention of accidents and their first-hand management.
  3. To impart education to children about the importance of self-safety and training to keep themselves safe and to handle risks and dangers safely with help from the adults.
  4. Interactions with religious leaders, motivators, counsellors and other social influencers to utilize their faculties and experiences to create and sustain mass awareness and help build a safe and risk-free environment for children everywhere.
  5. Focus on specific accident types such as falls, road-traffic injuries, foreign-body inhalation-ingestion, fire-injuries, drowning, bites of dogs and wild animals, and so on; designing and printing appropriate accident-specific literary material and graphic tools for information and action.
  6. Volunteers' education and training through structured programs and guides for spreading ideas of child-safety and prevention of accidents and modifying societal attitudes regarding the issue. This is to be coupled with their training in first-aid, basic life support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation through workshops.
  7. Extending the volunteer base for the Save Kids Initiative in order to speed up the campaign and widen its scope and to adopt a target-oriented approach for the achievement of our goals efficiently.
  8. Community participation through one-to-one interactions; workshops; folk-plays, quizzes, seminars, etc. Various relevant sections of the society include students, parents, teachers, drivers, traffic personnel, policemen, fire service providers, volunteers, etc.
  9. Our engagement and collaboration with sincere and people-based non-governmental organizations would continue to garner support for the cause and to unite resources for better results. Save Kids Initiative has a tremendous potential to integrate various sections of the society for the common and undisputed goal of safety of all the children on earth. Children could unite the entire mankind on the common good of keeping all the children safe, secure and happy.
  10. Creation of a Social Safety Net for all the children in the valley, wherein vulnerable children could be identified and supported before the occurrence of an accident. This can be made possible by involving older children, youth, locality-based healthcare professionals like pharmacists, nurses and ASHA-workers, volunteers and other social service providers.
  11. Publishing literary materials like pamphlets, stickers, posters, etc for widespread dissemination of the message of child safety.
  12. Designing online tools like animated videos, interactive sessions, interviews of experts, video-clips of volunteer experiences, etc to deal with various aspects of childhood accidents in an extraordinary and efficient manner. All these could be uploaded on YouTube through a dedicated channel, and shared on other social media sites for public benefit.
  13. Public Service Announcements could be used for rapid gains in spreading awareness and motivation among various relevant sections of the society to create an accident-free enjoyable world for the little ones.
  14. Talking to child victims of accidents and their parents, to help them

understand how a particular accident occurred and to identify the role of the personal and environmental factors in causing it. An accident neglected is bound to repeat. We aim to utilize the opportunity of an accident positively to understand the underlying behavioural and environmental predispositions so that a recurrence could be effectively prevented. In Shaa Allah.

  1. Safety as an attitude ensures life away from risks and vulnerabilities. Safety of children offers limitless opportunities during a full lifespan to achieve healthy personal ambitions, vocational pursuits and social goals. At the same time, a mass social security network which can be realistically imagined on the basis of a successful child safety campaign, can provide a strong launchpad for an inclusive social struggle to seek pragmatic solutions to the burning issues of older children and youth today such as drug abuse, drinking, promiscuity, behavioural disorders, suicides, and trauma in older life. Working to expand and strengthen the Save Kids Initiative, we dream all this.

Currently, our topmost priority is to rope in more volunteers for the Save Kids Initiative from students, parents, teachers, healthcare professionals, volunteers associated with other missions, etc, and this article is an effort to that end. Children are bundles of cuteness and innocence shrouded in weakness and dependence on adults for their very survival and wellbeing. Will you not save children from death and from the unmeasurable sufferings of life-threatening accidents? Wouldn't you volunteer for the great and noble cause of the Save Kids Initiative? Remember once you were a child too. It is only when someone else took good care of you in your childhood that you grew into adulthood, safe and sound. Return your share of the love, compassion and care. You owe it to the innocent cute little children of the world, without whom the world is dull, dark and empty!


[The first part of this article was published in Greater Kashmir newspaper on 27.03.2024]

Author is Senior Resident, Department of Anesthesiology, SKIMS. Besides he is a child-safety campaigner associated with JK Hope & Health Foundation and Help Poor Voluntary. He has launched the Save Kids Initiative to promote awareness and facilitate training about child safety and prevention of childhood accidents.