Get on the road


After her song ‘Rosto’ went viral, dance instructor and social activist Cecille Rodrigues has taken her road campaign to the next level, by painting speed breakers that are life-threatening, across the state. NT BUZZ reports

Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ

Road safety has been talked about a lot in Goa. However, while safety of riders and drivers is important, the condition of roads also has a major role to play. With this in mind, dance instructor and social activist Cecille Rodrigues first came out with her song ‘Rosto’ in which she highlighted the issue of potholes and how it poses a danger to people.

This song led to several politicians and citizens waking up and actually getting these potholes filled up. “After I realised the impact that the song had created, I began the 365 day t-shirt campaign for the same cause on October 2,” Rodrigues tells us. As part of this campaign she began sporting a t-shirt that has #rosto printed on it. “I wear it to functions. In fact I have worn it for a wedding and to church for Christmas mass and dance classes too,” she says, adding that it is her way of doing her bit to save Goa, before it’s too late. Rodrigues also went on to walk from Panaji Bus Stand to Cortalim junction.

Following a road mishap owing to a speed breaker, she realised that these too can be pretty dangerous.

“I already had a metal plate in my back due to an accident on a speed breaker during my college days. I went through a lot of pain at that time. So I knew that speed breakers can be life threatening, especially when not clearly visible,” she says.

Thus in order to sound the alarm, in a way that’s rather different, but noticeable and beneficial to commuters and travellers, Rodrigues came up with the idea of painting speed breakers in December last year. “I started off with a budget of just `5,000 to spend on Taleigao speed breakers and a few friends came forward,” she says.

The idea clicked and many like-minded people came to join Rodrigues in her campaign which has been on-going till date. “Seeing the impact, a friend from UK decided to contribute towards this #rosto campaign and wanted me to paint more speed breakers. That’s how I managed to buy more paint and continue painting these death traps, while people came forward to give us some free cans of paint too,” she says.

While the initiative was originally conceived for Taleigao constituency, it spread to various other villages of Goa with people coming forward to support the cause financially, or paint the speed breakers, or just be a great moral support.

So far 84 speed breakers have been marked in white across the State and the campaign is getting bigger. “People stop and contribute, or help and that clearly show how concerned they are,” says Rodrigues.

She believes that it is important for citizens to take responsibility of saving lives, and thus has a group of people who believe in what she does. “We begin at night by about 10:30 p.m. and go on till 3 or 4 a.m. in the morning,” Cecille tells us. The group tries to meet at least three to four times a week depending on the availability of people, and Cecille’s work schedule too.  The campaign has so far spread across the villages of Taleigao, Calangute, Thivim, Benaulim, Varca, Santa Cruz, Chimbel, Porvorim, Sangolda, Guirim, Vagator, Arpora, Moira, Agassaim, Pilar – Batim, Goa Velha, Siridao, Bambolim, and Odxel.