Thursday, 15 August 2013

The importance of wearing a seatbelt. International Youth Day 2013, Sofia

Petar from the Bulgarian National Agency with some goodies to be given away.

August 12 is the International Youth Day, as declared by the United Nations back in 1999. Celebrated annually around the world, the day is meant to raise awareness about the youth issues.

Altough young people form a significant part of the world's population, their problems and achievements are often overlooked. These people are often expected simply to 'be young', in the meantime forgetting that they are the segment of society particularly sensitive to issues like unemployment, poverty, lack of education, drug problems, discrimination. On the other hand, they are the ones contributing heavily as workforce, inventors, artists, scientists, enterpreneurs. The day is meant to highlight both the hardhips and the achievements.

In Sofia this year's activities took place next to the famous NDK building. Set up by the Bulgarian National Agency, the event was a mixture of presentations, games and performances. There was one main stage as well as pavillions of various Bulgarian and international youth NGOs: the scouts, the business minded, the environmentally aware, the ones against human trafficking and discrimination, the work camps- and EU projects- related. For those in a more playful mood a labyrinth game was available at mini venues scattered around the park.    
An important part of this year's event was run by a cooperation of two Bulgarian & Greek road safety NGOs. Statistics show that road accidents are among the main causes of death among young people. The Greek NGO, Panos Mylonas Road Safety Institute, was initiated in 2005 by a woman whose son was killed in a car accident a year earlier. Among its other missions, the NGO travels internationally with their authentic experience simulators to demonstrate youngsters how important it is to wear seatbelts.       

One of the simulators, a real, normal car with four people in it, slowly rotates as if it was a kebab grilled over a fire. The 'passengers' inside are held only by their seatbelts. Sitting there, upside down, I do realise how easy it would be to break my neck if I was in a real car crash.

The kebab-like crash simulator.

Another simulator is a car seat sliding two metres downhill and knocking into a wall. Again, although both the distance and the speed of the 'accident' are low, it wouldn't take much to fall face down on the pavement if the seatbelt was not on.

In addition, one could try stumbling around red traffick cones wearing goggles that imitate vision of a drunk person, and to drive a computer game car in order to measure how ecological their driving skills were, thanks to the Bulgarian 'Open Youth'.

For more photos from the event, see below.

Carmen, George and Inga, EVS volunteers at the Bulgarian Infinite Opportunities Association.
Daniel from CVS Bulgaria promoting international workcamps.

Milena from SMART Foundation Sofia.
One of the labyrynth stops.

Giving out leaflets, EVS volunteer David from Armenia.
More interns & volunteers: Madlena (Bulgaria), Kasia (Poland), Eneko (Hungary), Maria (Sweden).

Elina from Latvia in the background of animals.

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