Zoleka Mandela joins J&J CEO in call to Save Kids Lives
Global road safety campaigner Zoleka Mandela has issued a strong call to action in an event hosted by CEO of Johnson & Johnson, Alex Gorsky.
The company and its pharmaceutical segment, Janssen, has been a prominent corporate supporter of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety since 2011. CEO Alex Gorsky invited Zoleka Mandela to address a global ‘town hall’ meeting of the company on 1 October 2015 involving 400 employees in the UK and over 90,000 worldwide joining on a webcast.
Zoleka Mandela highlighted some of the life-saving Decade of Action for Road Safety projects around the world which have been established with support from Janssen and J&J. But she said much more work is needed to reach the objectives of the Decade of Action and the new global target to halve road fatalities in the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Just last week, in New York, world leaders launched the new Global Goals for development. Road safety has been included in these Goals. It’s the first time that this issue has been recognised as an international priority. Now it is time to deliver,” she said.
“In a few weeks the Governments of the world will meet in Brasilia to take the global agenda forward on road safety. We must join together in stronger partnerships – corporations, governments, and civil society all around the world. We’re not asking the impossible: we want a safe road for children to get to school, a helmet to protect a little one’s head, action on speeding, some education. But we need support to get the message out, to show what can be done everywhere, to kick-start sustained efforts to save lives.”
Alex Gorsky signed up to the Save Kids Lives campaign which calls for action worldwide to protect children and the vulnerable on the world’s roads. “We are honoured to have Zoleka, the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, address us today on this important issue,” he said. “According to the World Health Organization road traffic injury is the number one killer of young people aged 15-29. This is unacceptable and must surely be a call to action.”
One leading project supported by the company is the Safe Schools initiative in South Africa. The project has been managed by ChildSafe South Africa, a member of Safe Kids Worldwide. Safe Schools has been initiated by the FIA Foundation and the Road Safety Fund. Research at one of the project sites in the Khayelitsha township in Western Cape found that a large proportion of children had been affected by road traffic injury. Children at the Sivile Primary School in Khayelitsha had been forced to cross the high speed Jeff Masemola highway negotiating traffic travelling at 90km/h with no protection. Resulting from the project work, a safe crossing has been installed and 1,150 schoolchildren are able to reach their classes safely. Janssen is currently supporting a new phase of the Safe Schools project to expand the initiative in South Africa.
In her speech, Zoleka Mandela also highlighted the ‘Helmets for Kids’ project in South East Asia, supported by the company and run by the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation. She said: “As with Safe Schools in my home country, this work combats a major threat to children. In countries like Vietnam, motorcycles are the main means of family transport. But in Vietnam there is little protection for children with far too many suffering head injuries due to lack of helmets. The project you support is addressing this, providing over 40,000 helmets - much needed protection which is saving children’s lives.”
Ahead of the global meeting, Zoleka visited Booker Hill Primary and Nursery School High Wycombe where children had been learning about global road safety as well as the life of Nelson Mandela and history of South Africa. In a school assembly, she told the teachers and children about the Save Kids Lives campaign which the school will join along with a local road safety project to be carried out with Johnson & Johnson.
Janssen and Johnson & Johnson have contributed close to a million dollars in support of the United Nation’s Decade of Action for Road Safety over four years. The company is also a member of the UN Road Safety Collaboration.
Sign up to #SaveKidsLives at www.savekidslives2015.org