My name is Christian Benedict Meehan. I recently traveled to Cambodia, where I came upon an idea that could save thousands of lives. Children in Cambodia are accustomed to riding bicycles or walking on unlit roads at night; and the number of unintentional road side injuries and deaths is staggering. This situation is easily preventable with a very simple solution – reflective tape. While some people and organizations have attempted to address the issue of road side safety with bike helmets, the use of simple reflective tape is even more basic, and more cost effective.
If a child cannot be seen then the first measure of prevention is not taken. I want to do something that is very much needed, is practical and economically reasonable. I want to provide reflective tape so that children can be seen in the dark.
Reflective tape can easily be applied to bicycles, backpacks or sneakers. This tape will be distributed though schools, churches, orphanages, health care facilities, local organizations, government agencies and other non-profits.
I have created a non-profit organization called the “Reflect Campaign.” I believe this is an opportunity to do something good; and I hope that we can address this before too many more families have to mourn the loss of a child. The Reflect Campaign can really make a difference and can Respond Earnestly For the Livelihood of Every Child Together.
The goal is to provide a simple, practical and inexpensive solution for the children of Cambodia. This would be a proactive preventative response, rather than a reactive one.
On a more personal level, during my recent visit I was deeply affected by the people of Cambodia, especially the children. I witnessed things that I am not accustomed to seeing here in America - things that we as Americans take for granted. There were children who have no shoes, pants or food to eat, but still they smile. There were children who are responsible for providing for their family because their parents are not able to work. As a person who cares greatly about people and has a strong belief that everyone deserves an equal chance, I had the overwhelming feeling that I needed to do something to help. I am aware of the efforts of others to assist in areas of need like clean drinking water supplies, medical needs and education. I commend those who have sacrificed for the good of others. But I recognized a need that has yet to be addressed, and also has a relatively simple solution.
One night, while taking a Tuk Tuk from our guesthouse to a restaurant in Siem Reap the idea hit me or should I say we almost hit the idea! We almost side swiped a group of kids riding their bicycles. The reason, of course, was that we could not see them. Thus, the idea for was born. Supply the children of Cambodia with a reflective tape that would act as a safeguard. It also struck me that this would apply to children walking on the road side, and not just those riding bikes – although bicycles are a primary means of transportation there.
I have a positive outlook on what the future will bring and hope to make a difference. Thanks, Chrisitan Benedict Meehan
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