KEEP THE WEAK by leader6


									     Social work students for security in traffic.
     Estonian experience.

      Tartu University was established on 1632, but its College in Pärnu just
celebrated the 5 th anniversary. Our youngest curricula here is social work
management – we started on 1998 and one of the questions of the new
institution is its position in community. To keep academic distance or to be
opened and mixed?
      As a lector of social work I felt the necessity in personal experience in
community work and started the citizen’ action Keep the Weak to maintain
social values by improving traffic culture in my town. The idea of action was to
give an award - usually free gas by sponsors’ help to polite car-drivers, who
will accept pedestrians’ rights on zebra - crossings. Since the first action in
October 1998 there have always been social work students in our team to select
the best for award. For each time voluntary students sign down written
agreement (look Annex), chose the zebra for hidden control of traffic and form
final decision in protocol. Al ways the results are published in county
newspaper and sometimes there are longer stories about winners (look Annex).
For today we have had 37 actions and about 70 students and graduates have got
experience how to influence public opinion toward sustai nability.
      We can not say, that situation in streets is much more better now – the
statistics of accidents is still bad. But I think that the idealistic hope for better
social trends in society is symptomatic for all social work and so we use our
way to heat the world.
      It is easier now to handle terms like “social capital”, “social environment”
or “fund – rising” through the real participation in voluntary activities and our
actions make students more visible for citizens. One of the results is that
action-experienced 1st year students organised security traffic training in
      I hope our students are more motivated to think about the social
responsibility of everyone due to the actions we’ve made together.
      We hope continue until we can get real feedback of improving the traffic
culture in Pärnu.
      Valter Parve M.S.W. lector of social work
      Tartu University Pärnu College
Drivers - Five Reasons to Stop
     Valter Parve (“Pärnu Postimees” 01.09.1998)

      Probably many of us have felt annoyed when success or wealth are
exposed in a tactless and obtrusive manner. In traffic it shows as disrespectful
attitude both towards pedestrians and those whose vehicle is inferior.
      Inconsiderate lifestyle mars social environment, in traffic it endangers
lives. We can confront rampant haughtiness by a markedly different behaviour,
in traffic for instance, by paying respect to pedestrians. In Pärnu we can already
notice vehicles stopping before zebra crossings but exceptions should become
rules, it could be our common action in formation of a human town.
      The second reason to stop is a Highway Code requirement to give way to
a pedestrian crossing the street and everybody’s support is necessary in order to
enable law-abiding take root in society.
      Thirdly, children are going to school again, yet absent-minded and
careless after summer.
      Fourthly, contemporary social policy considers it right that both physically
and mentally disabled people live among us and they are assisted to cope and a
motorist has to be ready for their slower or unforeseeable reactions.
      Fifthly, it makes no sense to try your strength with a senior who is
crossing the street at the wrong place - their feet might be too sore to walk till
the crossroads.
      While politeness in traffic improves, pedestrians should bear in mind a
situation that on a two-lane roadway (e.g. in front of the post office) a vehicle
might stop to give way but on the second lane a careless driver might emerge
behind it.
      In a town of a size like Pärnu everybody might be able to influence quality
of life.

     Polite Drivers Given a Barrel of Petrol
     Silja Joon (“Pärnu Postimees” 23.10.1998)

     Drivers´ politeness in traffic at two zebra crossings was observed in Pärnu
within two hours on Monday, licence numbers of those five vehicles that
stopped before a zebra were written down. Alexela petrol station awarded each
of 5 polite drivers with 40 litres of petrol.
     An experimental competition to establish polite drivers was initiated by
Valter Parve, the Head of Social Welfare Office of Pärnu.

     You could be run over at the zebra crossing

    Five people observed whether vehicles stopped at the junction of Savi and
Mai streets and in front of the post office for half an hour.
     In Mai Street none of the vehicles stopped for the first 15 minutes of the
experiment, and people had to manage crossing the street somehow on their
     Cars bearing licence numbers 218 AKN and 322 FAD stopped properly to
let pedestrians cross the street. At the post office it became evident that it is the
pedestrians who lack politeness. “ A driver reckons that if you, a pedestrian,
don’t take the trouble to walk to the zebra, I won’t take trouble to stop”,
commented Valter Parve. Vehicles 521 AJD, 412 FAJ, 151 AIB stopped to
give way to pedestrians. Observers did not put down those vehicles that
stopped only halfway or unwillingly when pedestrians were crossing the street
using their right to.

      Pedestrians suffer
      According to Kalev Kiis, MD of OÜ Maiben, a member of observation
group, traffic is the result of mutual understanding of pedestrians and motorists,
in which however, while listening to traffic news, a pedestrian suffers far more
      Kadri Valdre, a 12 th-grader of the co-educational gymnasium, who
participated in the action asserted that on one’s way to school one cannot cross
the street unless walking to the middle of the road so that drivers just have to
      According to Valter Parve politeness in traffic is one of indicator s of
quality of life in Pärnu.
      All drivers of the above-mentioned vehicles receive their award petrol at
Alexela petrol station in Mai Street. The vehicle’s certificate of fitness must be

     Ill-mannered road users fined up to 360 kroons
     Field police inspector of Pärnu Police Prefecture Avo Neerut said that in
August, September and October there were 8 accidents resulting in injuries
caused by pedestrians and 4 caused by drivers. Bicycle riders are considered
pedestrians as well. Most frequent cause of accidents was running onto the road
     According to the data of the prefecture 264 drivers who did not give way
at zebra crossings and 340 pedestrians who crossed roads at wrong places were
fined in the county of Pärnu within last 9 months. Ivar Kivitar, senior inspector
of traffic police said that impolite road users may be fined up to 360 kroons.
“We organise raids in Pärnu once a month. During the last raid 12 pedestrians
and 17 vehicle drivers were fined. When a patrol car is by the road everybody
is more polite than usually,” he said.
     Wearable Must Be Preserved
     (“Pärnu Postimees” 29 th Oct 1999)

      Pärnu Postimees published on its front page of the 23 October 1998 issue
an article “Polite Drivers Given a Barrel of Petrol” and thus informed readers
of the start of “Keep the Weak” action.
      In total 11 raids have been carried out, 24 drivers who gave way to
pedestrians at zebra crossings have been awarded. The award is fuel - 15-30
litres. During the last but one raid (on 1 Oct.) in front of the Viiburi
supermarket the contract condition was “full tank” and the winner (388 AAJ)
whom we stopped with the help of the police near the same zebra crossing,
added 209 litres in its tank at the new Flexar filling station.
      Fuel companies such as Ale xela, Country Oil, NB Tanklad, Neste have
been supportive of the action. 900 litres of fuel have been awarded.
      Traffic observation has always been based on a written contract and
always students of social work of Pärnu College have been among participants:
one of the skills in their future job should be influencing public opinion and
attitudes so that not only coping abilities of welfare clients but quality of life of
a town or rural municipality in general would improve.
      Consideration towards each other, granting privileges to the weaker,
helping someone in need are values of life environment that are subject to rapid
wear and tear when success and consumption cultivated but which we should
try to preserve.
      We have written down licence numbers of vehicles that in our opinion
give way politely and the same time we have taken into account careless
drivers: there are about 20 of them per one driver who respects pedestrians.
      The action has been planned to last (depends on sponsors) 3 years and
permanent highlighting of the issue should bring about obvious change in our
traffic situation.
      In our last raid in the afternoon of 22 October in front of the post office
vehicles 269 AMK and 452 AMR caught our attention - each driver will
receive 25 litres of fuel at Flexar filling station in Papiniidu on presenting the
vehicle’s certificate of fitness.
      In November and December AS NB Tanklad is the sponsor of the action.
                                                                       Valter Parve
                                                                           road user
     Agenda 21. Could Pärnu be like Las Vegas?
     Valter Parve (“Pärnu Postimees” 28 th Oct 1998)

      Never been to that other city but as to common image it is a popular place
to waste time (money) in the USA where businessmen and mafiosos loosen
their ties and enjoy entertainment. Is it the path to glory in Pärnu as well?

     Welfare of moneyed people at the expense of townspeople

      Currently the town council is examining the town development plan and in
that respect obviously the question presented in the headline will be raised:
should we try to please at any cost those who want to spend their money here
and what should townspeople to give up to enable it? Will people be ready to
surrender part of their rights and freedoms in the name of income of
accommodation, catering, entertainment, etc. enterprises (and thus taxes to
town budget)? And if we do not approve of noise and loutish and churlish
show-off, then what is it to bring money to Pärnu?
      Evidently, well-heeled visitors are different: one-night - party-goers (with
the attitude “the Deluge after us”) and those who would like to have a rest for
longer here and would make other investments besides just a pub bill. I suggest
that first of all we should consider people’s needs to regard this town as their
      People’s needs differ, it is characterised by the present situation at
Vallikääru open-air stage: teenagers value the possibility to enjoy themselves
and vent their energy until early hours, accompanying noise damages families´
needs to rest and in no way coincides with an idea of cosy home.
      There are other groups with different interests: pedestrians - motorists, the
outcasts - the successful, owners - tenants, honest taxpayers - wheeler-dealers
with untaxed wages, pensioners, humiliated by applying for benefits - the
newly rich showing off, natives in their own land - immigrants with adaptation
problems, etc.
      Everybody needs clean environment, otherwise nothing else matters.
Naturally, it is not a problem of Pärnu or Estonia only. In 1992 the world
summit was held in Rio de Janeiro where Agenda 21, document on principles
of sustainable development was adopted. On its basis Estonia, being one of the
few countries, has passed Sustainable Development Act (Riigi Teataja No.31,
1995), a number of regional plans have been developed (e.g. “Charter of
European cities and Other Municipalities on Choosing Sustainable
Development” unanimously adopted in Alborg in 1994 or joint project of Pärnu
group of Estonian Green Movement and Swedish Friends of Land “Agenda 21
in Pärnu”). These lay main stress on preservation and sustainable use of natural
environment - water, air, soil, flora and fauna, natural resources - but in later
documents also on social justice and eradication of poverty.

     Social environment - what’s that?
      According to my concept social environment is interpersonal relationships
around us, national ideas, customs to help the weaker ones, standards of good
and bad, norms of conduct, economical lifestyle, etc.
      It should denote social capital and similarly to natural environment we
should raise the issue of pollution. Anything that decreases social capital, that
worsens the state of social environment, is social pollution.
      As far as one can remember our history, there has traditionally been
respect to the weaker ones (both physically and mentally), giving privileges to
them. I regard such a norm of conduct a part of social capital of our society.
And to preserve or enhance (capital can be increased) that capital, we have
initiated the campaign in the streets at zebra crossings, featured in Pärnu
Postimees on 23 October “Polite Drivers Given a Barrel of Fuel”: a driver (the
stronger) should pay respect to a pedestrian (the weaker) and from the
viewpoint of town’s quality of life it is essential for all of us to support such
      As an example of social pollution serves unethical profit hunting
described in an article “Experiment - to sell minors alcohol and cigarettes or
not” (Pärnu Postimees, 24 October). From the standpoint of society and health
of younger generation it is vital to stop the youths becoming addicted to drugs.
If in seven shops out of ten minors can freely buy cigarettes and beer, it could
be compared to uncontrolled growth of algae Cyanophyceae at the beach or to
spillage of trainload of black oil.

     Social environment is also polluted by maliciousness brought about by the
above-described contradicting interests and this way e.g. property reform
which is carried out inefficiently (or selfishly) may be compared to a natural
disaster. Destroyed rain forests do not recover, likewise faith in social justice is
destroyed for a long time for many of those people who lost their homes.
     Essential parts of a quality of life are feeling of security and law-abiding
behaviour. It involves the notion of inevitability of penalty. If a radio station
promotes itself to commercial advertisers thanks to release of information on
location of police patrols and thus fosters traffic nihilism and accidents and
crime (information may be used by criminals to avoid the police), this is the
case of wasting social capital that belongs to the whole society: it becomes real
money just for station-owners. In doing so, money which is collected from tax
payers to reinforce the police forces is wasted. Hands-off policy of
governmental power in its extreme liberality is an accomplice in that our
feeling of security and law-abiding are decreasing and in pollution of social

     Choice is yours
     Hence a simple suggestion: not to tune in a station that disintegrates sense
of justice, not to use aerosols that damage ozone layer, not to buy from an
unethical shop. Certainly, it takes efforts, as it is so tempting to speed
unapprehensively, spray-on lacquers - paints are handier to use and shop which
does not care about children’s health is nearer to your home.
      It is necessary to support everything that enhances quality of social
environment: wave to a driver who gave you way, do your shopping in ethical
stores only, feel responsible for what happens around you. Environment
preservation cannot only matter to the state or town government, sustainable
lifestyle depends on each one of us. And if, as a result of joint efforts it is
enjoyable to live in Pärnu in the 21 st century, then it is also a desirable place for
holidays, investments, conferences and rehabilitation and money together with
people who care about values come into town. The whole question is that Las
Vegas is achievable more easily and faster, citizens have to do nothing but
leave things to fate and casino owners. Disorder spreads on its own unless
      Choice is ours.

                                          Pärnu Postimees 29.10.99


      “Pärnu Postimees” published on the first page of its 23.10.98 issue the
article “ Polite drivers will get the bonus-gasoline” to inform citizens about the
action “Keep the weak”.
      There have been altogether 11 activities for today and the total number of
winners is 24 – those are car-drivers who have given pedestrians the privilege
to cross the street on zebra crossing. The medium amount of award is 15 -30
liter of gasoline for each, but the precontract with “Flexar” gas-station for the
action on 01.11.99 considered about “full tank” and so the winner (388AAJ)
got 209 liter.
      The other sponsors of action have been Alexela, Country Oil, NB
Tanklad, Neste: altogether 900 liter for prizes.
      There have been always a written contract to observe the traffic and
always the students of social work management of Pärnu College have been
among the participants of observation: one of the skills of their future position
should be how to influence the public opinion not only for better coping with of
welfare-clients, but also for better quality of life for all people.
      The care for others, giving the privilege to those who are weaker, and help
are values of the social environment, which can be waisted by the worship of
success and consumption.
      At the same time with the supporting activities for the friendly traffic we
have been watching the opposite behaviour and there are about 20 careless
drivers per each polite one.
      The action has been planned for three years (it depends on sponsors) and
the public attention on it should improve our traffic-culture.
      The last observation on 22.10.99 selected out the winners 269AMK and
452AMR – the drivers award will be 25 l gasoline per each and to get it on
Flexar-station it is necessary to show the car-document.
      The sponsor for November and December will be the AS NB Tanklad.
      Valter Parve, driver

    1.Participants of observation (name, address, phone, employment,





     agree on the …………….199… to manage the competition to find out, to
introduce by media and to award those car-drivers, who will give the
privilege to pedestrians on sebra crossings.

     2. The way of observation:
     2.1.Participants of observation watch (without disturbing the traffic) the
situation on sebra crossings close to the children-institutions of town or:
     2.1.1. during the fixed period -……..hour and register all cars giving the
privilege to pedestrians and the lot will select the winner(s), or
     2.1.2. the first polite driver will be the winner.

    3. The sponsor…………….……………… will give to the winner(s) as

    an award ……………………………………………………..

    4. The media-channel participating in action ………………………

    ………………………………………… will introduce to the publicity:
    4.1. The principles of sustainable development of social environment
    4.2. Winners of competition (with their agreement to be published)
    4.3. The sponsor (free of charge for it but on suitable amount for media)

    5. The action is based on ideas, introduced to publicity by Valter
Parve in his articles (Pärnu Postimees):
    - “Five Reasons For Car-drivers To Stop” (01.09.98)
    - “Agenda 21. Could Pärnu be like Las Vegas?” (28.10.98)

    6. This contract of observation is valid only for one action and does
    not bind participants outside of it.

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