It’s 8am, Tuesday. Dawa Zam, 14, leaves her backpack in the class room, puts on her orange waistcoat and heads out for her regular routine of controlling the traffic near the school gate in Changzamtog.
Along with her are some 10 other scout volunteers of Changzamtog Lower Secondary School. They are the student traffic controllers. Dawa Zam, a class eight student has been doing the traffic monitoring for two years now.
“I enjoy the responsibility. I like helping the students cross the road safely,” said Dawa Zam.
Donning the orange coat and a cap, Dawa Zam has a Stop sign in her hand. Dawa and her friends have to do traffic monitoring twice a day – once every morning and evening.
Dawa and her friends start at 8am. By 8:30am they are done. In the evening they start at 3:50pm. They are the first to report to the school and the last to leave.
However, except for a few individuals, most of the scout members, including Dawa Zam, did not get proper training on traffic controlling.
“Every day is a challenge. But we learn a lot from it,” Dawa Zam said.
Tandin Tshewang, 15, is a student volunteer who helps control the traffic near the school. He said that he enjoys the job. He said that except for a few individuals, most of the drivers cooperate with them.
Tandin Tshewang said that new volunteers have difficult time learning how to hold the signals to stop a vehicle.
The scoutmaster, Tshering Peldon, coordinates the daily traffic controlling along with the volunteers. She said that the programme has been very effective in reducing the risk of accidents.
“Last year, we had an accident where one of our student was injured. The programme has become more effective after the incident,” Tshering Peldon said.
An official from the traffic division accompanies the student volunteers most of the time.
Tshering Peldon said that the programme has not only benefited the students but also helped the participants learn important things about traffic safety and monitoring.
Tshering Peldon said that the programme could be an extraordinary success if the authorities concerned can give the students and the teachers more training on traffic controlling.
“We usually get just one training in a year,” Tshering Peldon said. “New volunteers have trouble stopping vehicles. They don’t know how to hold stop sign the right way. But everyone will benefit if drivers are supportive and stop when they are asked to.”
Said Tshering Peldon: “The whole community should take the initiative and be mindful with the traffic regulations. Only then will the programme be a success.”
By Younten Tshedup