Lahore, Pakistan - "Hurry up with the money or go hang," says the conductor to three passengers. The driver sternly orders the passengers to pay the full fare or get out at the next crossing. He adds, addressing no one in particular: "They get into bad habits at this age and buy toffees from the money given for their wagon fare."
You could hardly believe your eyes and ears at what you were seeing and hearing. The wagon driver and conductor were addressing three girls, the eldest of whom could not have been more than seven years of age. Wasn't this, you thought to yourself, an example of what the acute shortage of pubic transport in the city is doing to the psyche of the nation.
The incident took place a few days ago. The children were returning home from their school and had boarded the wagon at the Gulberg Main Market stop.
The girls are in a chirpy mood as they board the wagon. One of them sees their teacher sitting in another wagon parked nearby and calls out, "Teacher, teacher." But the teacher doesn't hear the shout. Then a popcorn seller comes up. The girls shake their heads and say 'no' to him. They say they have no money. One of them addresses the driver: "Uncle, why don't you start the van? We are already very late and are feeling tired". The driver looks back at the children and frowns.
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As the wagon gets going, the driver tells the conductor to charge full fare from the girls or drop them at the next crossing. The conductor smiles, thinking that the driver must be teasing the students. But apparently the driver is serious. He repeats his instructions in a harsh tone, saying the girls are being over-smart and uppity.
The children are stunned into silence. One girl asks another to take out the rupee she had seen earlier in the day in a side pocket of the latter's school bag. The other whispers that she had spent it on buying a couple of biscuits. The conductor loses his patience, and asks the children to hurry up with the fare. The driver says they are developing bad habits so early in life. They get money from their parents for the wagon fare and spend it on eating candies at school.
You could only hope that the girls would have forgotten the incident as soon as they left the wagon and that it would not warp their future attitudes. The problems school-going children can face are not even considered while devising transport policies. Ideally speaking, no student should have to travel by private bus or wagon. The government must have a student transport scheme.
Thousands of children have both parents working and cannot be escorted to school. The children go to school on their own by bus or wagon. They are given a few rupees to spend during the day which includes fare money. Being children, they sometimes overspend on sweets. Bus-van conductors and drivers under pressure from avaricious owners to rake in the maximum amount of cash cannot afford to be considerate or kind-hearted. Continued on Page Two
Creator Duncan Wells
The Love & Safety Club
In-Class Safety Education Program
The Nova Scotia Children's Music & Story Production Company is offering elementary schools an innovative child safety program to help connect kids with the need to develop basic safety awareness.
Duncan Wells, creator of The Love & Safety Club In-Class Safety Education Program said, "The program is designed so teachers can have the freedom to offer creative input to the program themselves."
The Love & Safety Club is different from other safety education programs due to the fact that it uses music and a child's natural ability to commit fun words to memory in order to reinforce those basic safety skills that are important to children on a day to day basis. This program is effective, entertaining and, best of all, fun for both teachers and students, Wells said.
In order to properly conduct this fun and effective safety education program in your school a copy of the Love & Safety Club music CD or cassette recording is needed, along with enough membership cards for each child in your class. The first time purchase of these materials means, with proper care, you will never have to purchase it again. The only continued cost will be purchasing inexpensive membership cards.
For more information about the program and how to purchase The Love & Safety Club In-Class Safety Education Program Package write: Duncan Wells, The Love & Safety Club, 291 Champlain Avenue, Sydney, Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia, Canada B1P 6P9, or Click Here to visit the Love & Safety Club Web Site.
NOTE: 2safeschools does not charge producers to review and present selected and innovative safety programs. Producers of childerns' safety or bus driver training programs who would like 2safeschools to review and present your program to our membership please E-Mail 2safeschools for submission information - Subject: Safety Product.