On April 13th, 2017, Michael Woodford MBE, the Executive Chairman of Safer Roads Foundation (SRF), had a safe and comfortable flight from Hanoi to Son La by helicopter EC155 B1. He joined an interesting event to give the specially designed motorbike helmets to the Black Thai women who preserve the tradition of putting their hair in the high chignon. The standard helmets are inadequate for them to wear.
The Safer Roads Foundation and Michael Woodford MBE
Established by its Executive Chairman, Michael Woodford, the SRF is a non-profit organization that works to reduce the number of road casualties all over the world. Michael is the great character who has actively cared about road safety for decades.
Michael Woodford (born June 12, 1960) in Staffordshire, but moved to Liverpool. He was the former president of the Olympus Corporation (appointed in April 2011) and known as the whistleblower who revealed the Olympus scandal (exposing the $2 billion fraud). The corporation is a Japan-based manufacturer of optics and reprography products. After leaving Japan because of disclosing the well-known scandal, since 2012, Michael has been working on the international corporate governance, dedicated to human rights, road safety, and whistleblower laws. The activities of SRF, therefore, try to reduce the number of the dead and the wounded on the world’s road.
It is a big pride for Vietnam to welcome this renowned character who represents the Safer Roads Foundation (www.saferroadsfoundation.org ) which works on the significant road safety worldwide. His participation to the event in Son La can actually enhance the meaning of the event: giving the specially designed helmets to the Black Thai women who traditionally have the tight roll of hair worn high at the back of the head.
The Unique Motorbike Helmets for the Black Thai Women
With the high buns (called Tằng cẩu in Vietnamese), it’s quite difficult for the women of Black Thai hill tribe in the Northwest region to wear the standard motorbike helmets. Therefore, many of them prefer not using helmets when they are on the roads. For the road safety, the practical high-chignon helmets are the great gifts that they would love to try.
The women of six provinces in the Northwest mountainous region can experience the adequately designed helmets to conclude if they are comfortable enough. After testing the helmets around two months, they should give ideas and recommendations so that the responsible companies can make appropriate modification and release the product. When wearing the high-bun helmet, lots of hill-tribe women feel happy and promise that they will abide by the traffic law because now the protective head covering doesn’t influence their favorite chignon. As the helmets are beautiful, suitable for some types of the chignon, and lighter than the normal protective head covering, they win the hill-tribe women’s praises in the first place.
Aiming to reduce the number of road casualties in the Northwest region, this helmet brings some certain positive effects. When one woman agrees to put this beautiful design of the productive head covering, the other women in the communities might follow. The special helmets are now available in Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Yen Bai, Hoa Binh, Thanh Hoa, and Nghe An. These mountainous and remote provinces are homes to some hill tribes who need to be educated much about road safety and life. Since then, it’s expected that the hill-tribe women become aware of the regulations to wear the helmets when they control motorbikes.
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