Deepavali is one of the most important festivals for the Hindus, about on par with their New Year festival. In practice, the Hindus would start their preparations a few weeks before, by making traditional cookies and other festive fineries. However, not everyone could afford to do this as there were some who were living from hand to mouth.
To help this latter category enjoy this festive season, Tzu Chi volunteers distributed goody bags to students under the Happy Schooling Scheme and Tzu Chi Study Grant.
Tzu Chi volunteers were everywhere
In the morning of October 12, 2016, Tzu Chi volunteers first distributed the goody bags to students at SJK(T) Jasin for 45 families. This was followed by another, for 22 students from SJK(T) Merlimau and SJK(T) Ladang Serkam.
“The goody bags are contributions from the public, and we hope that the recipients will study hard to change their future and become loving and compassionate contributors to society,” said Tan Chwee Lan, a Tzu Chi volunteer who was the emcee at these distributions. She also advised and encouraged the students to seize their schooling opportunities.
These initiatives were not requests from the schools but were from the volunteers when they saw the need. Both the headmistresses were touched and grateful for the noble gesture.
The Headmistress of SJK(T) Jasin, Samupatha a/p M. Chelliah, expressed her gratitude, “No matter where I go, I always encounter Tzu Chi volunteers… I still recalled Tzu Chi donating a few computers to the school last year, and it certainly benefitted many of our students.” She sincerely hopes that the children would reciprocate the love shown by working harder.
“You are receiving the aids from Tzu Chi now, and I hope you would contribute to Tzu Chi when you have the ability to do so in future,” said Vasuki, the Headmistress of SJK(T) Merlimau. She has known Tzu Chi for years and felt blessed that her school is a beneficiary of the Happy Schooling Scheme.
The Headmistress was very grateful to Tzu Chi as the volunteers have never failed her requests for assistance. To repay the kindness, she has made donations and sent recyclable items to the nearest recycling centre. She is a living example to the children in contributing back to society when they can do so.
Offered the needy with useful aid
“Thank you…” Santhy a/p Doraisamy repeatly uttered, when her daughter, Lishalini, a Primary 3 student at SJK(T) Jasin, passed her the large goody bag. Santhy is a cleaner at the school.
Since her husband could not work after losing his eyesight from diabetes, the family of eight has been living on Santhy’s meagre income of RM900 and her husband’s welfare subsidy of RM100 plus per month. Although the school was kind to release staff salary three days earlier given the Deepavali festival, there would not be much left for Santhy to buy necessities for delicacies after paying for rental (RM600), utilities and sundries.
“Prices are high these days, a box of biscuits can easily cost RM20. If not for Tzu Chi, the children will have had to settle for only two boxes of cookies for the festival. I am so happy when I saw the ingredients of making ‘muruku’. All the items provided are very useful,” exclaimed Santhy. With the valuable aid, she could put aside some money to make new clothes for the children.
To Mullai a/p Kunda whose children were studying at SJK(T) Merlimau, her family of six children had to tighten their belts to prepare for Deepavali, as only her husband is the sole breadwinner. They used to spend about RM200 for the festival in the past, but with Tzu Chi’s help this year, the children were able to enjoy more delicacies at half the expenditure. “I will use the cocoa powder to bake a cake and make good use of the other ingredients,” Mullai said.
The goody bag was a symbol for the volunteers’ thoughtfulness as well as their love and care. It is hoped that this gesture has brought warmth to the needy and helped foster love far and wide.
Photo shows recipients of goody bag happily showing their gratitude. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
Volunteer Tan Chwee Lan gave words of encouragement to the students. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
Using herself as an example, Headmistress of SJK(T) Merlimau, Vasuki advised the students to reciprocate the kindness shown by Tzu Chi when they are more capable in future. [Photograph by Teng Swee Ueng]
Santhy a/p Doraisamy (1st right) gladly received the heavy goody bag from her daughter, Lishalini. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]