Lesley Cully is the lady behind “Buckle Up In The Back” – a campaign to encourage UAE residents to wear seatbelts. Only launched up a year ago, the campaign has grown very quickly, receiving widespread support from the press, local organisations, and wider community.
I’m from London and I have been living in Dubai for 5 years. I used to work for British Gas, but I quit when I had my first daughter to become a full-time Mum. We came to Dubai for my husband’s work.
What is ‘Buckle Up In The Back’ about..
I started the campaign because I couldn’t bear to see children in the back of cars without any seatbelts. I found it very difficult to witness. The episode that triggered the campaign, however, was the day my eldest daughter was invited to a play date. The western family who offered to take her didn’t wear seatbelts and didn’t use booster seats. I was horrified to discover that they were not looking after their own children and my child.
That day, I realised I had a choice – I could have an argument every day or I could do something about it. I went back home and started a Facebook page. I had no firm idea of what I wanted to do with it – I just wanted to say how I felt about it. Before long, friends started joining the group. It just grew and grew – and I started winning the support of companies such as Move One, Chevrolet, and Graco.
Since I started, there are lots of companies that have started their own campaigns, but it is very spread out. I think the message would be more powerful if everybody got behind one single campaign.
The most important thing for me is to convey the message. It’s not about making money; it’s about getting people to wear seatbelts. Most accidents happen within a few hundred feet of your home. Not wearing a seatbelt is not a local thing, it is everywhere in Dubai. Only 2% of children wear their seatbelt in the UAE – and 63% of child deaths are car related! I know people who were killed or severely injured for the sake of a seatbelt.
Balancing work with motherhood..
I have two daughters; one at nursery and one at school. I have a very supportive husband, a very good helper, and fantastic friends – if I didn’t have them, it would be very difficult to juggle. I spend time on Facebook and Twitter in the evening to keep up with social marketing. I used to work for Magrudy’s part-time, but I’m now going to concentrate on Buckle Up In The Back on a full time basis.
I am looking for..
Firstly, I hope to find volunteers in Dubai to help out with the campaign. But the most important things I need at the moment are a medium/long term sponsor behind me to support the campaign and legal help. I also need to get help for my website and someone to coordinate the schools presentation.
I’ve learnt that I can do anything. There’s no point moaning about things if you don’t do anything about it – you might as well just stay quiet.
If you want to do something in life, go for it. Life is too short. Don’t let anyone else tell you what you should do.
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