Almost 40% of road traffic collisions in Moldova involve pedestrians – about half of whom are children – usually the most vulnerable participants of road traffic. In 2013, 21 Moldovan children died and 545 were injured as a result of road traffic collisions. A significant contributory factor is lack of street lighting in towns and villages. Children therefore often walk in the dark and this increases their chances of being hit by a vehicle.

Road deaths and injuries can be significantly decreased with one simple measure  – reflective high visibility material – whether as a jacket, wrist band, bag, hat or other accessories, enabling a driver to see a child much sooner, adjust their driving accordingly, and consequently reduce the likelihood of a collision.

In response to these road traffic statistics, a charity event within the “Bright, Seen and Safe” project was organized by EASST partner the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) and “ProtectMD” Foundation on 29th May 2014. The project is being implemented within the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 and UN MyWorld 2015 Survey Campaign and supported by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

Women from business, politics, NGO, and diplomatic spheres attended the event

The aim of the fundraising event was to raise awareness of road safety issues, particularly focused on poor levels of visibility and child deaths and trauma on the road, as well as to collect funds for obtaining high visibility reflectors for Moldovan children. The event took place at the Residence of the Head of EU Delegation in Moldova with the support of Wife of the Head of EU Delegation in Moldova Mrs. Olga Shumylo-Tapiola, Wife of Her Majesty’s Ambassador Mrs. Jo Batson, and UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of UNDP Mrs. Nicola Harrington-Buhay.

Speaking at the women-only fundraising event, Director of the “ProtectMD” Foundation Tatiana Mihailova encouraged those present to promote this issue:

“This is a new step made ​​by us to promote on a large scale level use of reflectors by pedestrians in Moldova and I would like to invite every lady present to be an Ambassador of this noble cause”, said Mrs Mihailova.

The event gathered together women from a variety of sectors influential in Moldovan life including representatives from diplomatic, political, business, and civil society spheres in order to promote the message to the community. Ms. Elena Scutaru of MARA Women, a young national cloth designer and director of a knitting project, and Ms Raluca M. Jetha, representative of “Hospice Angelus” joined the team of organizers and made presentations on this issue close to their heart – that of child safety. The ACM team demonstrated a mini fashion show during which children demonstrated high-visibility clothes and accessories with reflective elements. These included wristbands, rucksacks and flickers provided by the ACM’s international partners: EASST, Operation Florian and the Estonian Police. The urgent need to buy and promote the use of reflectors was fully supported and welcomed by all ladies present.

Moldovan children demonstrating some of the high-vis garments

A total of 9911 MDL was raised at the event – a new measure and step in the fight against child road death and injury. The ACM and “ProtectMD” Foundation will add to this amount the saved funds donated within the project by partners FIA and FIA Foundation.

All the money donated during the event will be spent on the purchase of reflectors from Estonia because it is not possible to purchase them in Moldova. The reflectors will be distributed among children in rural areas of Moldova, where there have been high incidences of road casualties, and in orphanages and boarding schools.