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Thursday, 13 July 2017 00:00

It All Begins with Happy Schooling Scheme

Written by  Julie Yen Yu Chu & Yong Siew Lee, Malacca / Translated by Lee Hui Yieng

The Happy Schooling Scheme has benefitted many needy students. Principal Lee Koon Lek of SJK(C) Paya Mengkuang plans to promote the spirit of the Bamboo Bank Era to evoke love within the students. Picture shows him presenting a bamboo bank to Teh Xuan Hong. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

Every year, Tzu Chi volunteers would personally visit Principals of remote rural schools one by one to propose to them Tzu Chi’s Happy Schooling Scheme. In July 2017, based on the demands of some schools, Tzu Chi provided computers, printers, books and school attires to the needy students.


On July 7, 2017, four volunteers visited three primary schools, namely, SJK(C) Pay Chiao, SJK(C) Kemendor and SJK(C) Yu Hsien in Bemban, Jasin, and handed over a total of four computers, one printer and several boxes of books. Then on July 13, five volunteers, together with supplier of school uniforms, presented school uniforms and shoes to 16 students from SJK(C) Paya Mengkuang and SJK(C) Lendu.

When volunteers personally visited Principals of remote rural schools one by one to propose Tzu Chi’s Happy Schooling Scheme, they were surprised and pleased as their long-kept wishes were finally heard.

Book donation motivates reading

Through school visits, volunteers discovered that most schools were so financially burdened that they had to put up with broken down computers, let alone buying new equipment. This has slowed down administrative efficiency and disrupted the implementation of lesson plans and teachings. Students’ interest in reading was also declining as a result of not having new collection of books in the library.

Realizing the schools’ demand for books, volunteers sought for donations of used books. Everyone, including members of Great Love Mothers’ Team, Parent-child Bonding Class and Tzu Chi Teenagers’ Group gave a positive support. Some children donated books that they loved and some donated books that they had not read for a long while so that children from the remote areas could also share the joy of reading.

Principal of SJK(C) Pay Chiao, Tee Khok How, said that the school was unable to purchase new facilities and books for the library due to limited budget. However, this should not affect their education. To promote reading and improve parent-child bonding, the school initiated a parent-child reading session this year. The school library is open at 6.30 am daily and once a week, it opens at night to encourage utilization of library resources and cultivate reading habit. Principal Tee expressed gratefully, “Thank you Tzu Chi. When volunteer Liu Mu Lan mentioned the Happy Schooling Scheme during her visit, we immediately requested for subsidies of books and two computers for the teachers’ administrative work.”

As soon as they received the items, Principal Tee and the teachers quickly set up the computer sets for use and happily browsed through the books in the boxes. Teacher Ong Kek Luai shared with joy, “This series of books has very good contents. Some are suitable for the library and some could be placed in the classrooms after sorting.” She added that students of higher grades often complained that they did not have any more books to read in the library as they had read them all. Hence, these donated books would be of great benefit to them.

SJK(C) Kemendor also requested for two computers from Tzu Chi to replace the broken down ones. When the School Principal, Tay Kim Geok, learnt about the book donation drive, she said joyfully, “Our school also needs more books. Be it new or used books, our students would be very happy as long as there are books to read.” Volunteers were also shown the “Read More” corner set up next to the canteen, equipped with books donated by the public. As there were still plenty of space on the book shelves, Principal Tay hoped to gather more books to enrich the students’ choice of reading.

Principal Lee Siew Chin of SJK(C) Lendu and teachers from SJK(C) Paya Mengkuang also expressed their demands for donated books due to limited funding for the library.

Happiness extended from school to home

When Principal Tan Eng Lin of SJK(C) Yu Hsien received the colour printer, she instantly invited the teachers to share the joy. While admiring and discussing about it, the teachers said that since the old one broke down, they had not been able to produce colourful teaching materials for a long time. Principal Tan said, “We were really surprised and happy when Tzu Chi volunteers told us about the Happy Schooling Scheme. This printer would help the teachers to improve their teaching outcomes. The cartridges for this printer model are cheaper and affordable. Tzu Chi is so thoughtful, thank you so much!”

Besides providing material aid, volunteers also discovered the predicament of students in every school. There were less students in these schools due to their remote locations. As most of the students’ parents are farmers, rubber tappers or workers at outstation locations, they were entrusted to the care of their grandparents. Owing to poverty, many schooling problems arose.

With information provided by the schools, volunteers visited the students’ families. Mu Lan said, “The ultimate goal of the Happy Schooling Scheme is to extend its care from the school to students, and then to their families.” Besides listening to and providing various assistance according to the schools’ needs, volunteers also extended their care to those underprivileged students by personally visiting their homes to understand their actual needs. This time, Tzu Chi provided transportation, tuition fee, and meal subsidies, as well as, donation of school uniforms, school shoes and sports attire to students from five schools, thereby enabling them a smooth learning path. The school authorities were touched by how efficient Tzu Chi was in solving their long-existed issues and how the volunteers had personally visited the home of each applicant.

Mu Lan shared, “This is just the beginning. We will keep in close contact with the schools. We have also promised the Principal of Pay Chiao Primary School that we will organize a recycling talk at the school.”

Aid recipients turned givers

On July 13, besides distributing school uniforms and shoes to the needy students under the Happy Schooling Scheme, volunteers also shared with the students who benefitted from the scheme in SJK(C) Paya Mengkuang and SJK(C) Lendu the spirit of Tzu Chi’s Bamboo Bank Era.

Six students from SJK(C) Lendu received school shoes, three were granted lunch subsidy, four received book purchase subsidy, and five received sports attire.

Tiu Siew Lan, Senior Assistant of the school, who is also a Tzu Chi volunteer, explained to the students the origins of Tzu Chi’s Bamboo Bank Era. “I hope that all of you can cultivate the habits of saving and helping others.” She encouraged the six scheme beneficiaries to save some money in the bamboo banks daily, give rise to kind thoughts, make good vows and do kind deeds.

“When everyone is busily making money, you spare your time to come to our school for a meaningful deed,” remarked Principal Lee, who came across Tzu Chi several years ago but had lost touch with the Foundation due to job transfer. She felt warm in the heart to be connected to Tzu Chi again. She encouraged the scheme beneficiaries, “Study well and don’t disappoint those who have hope in you. You can emulate the volunteers and become useful people by contributing to society and carrying out meaningful deeds.” She also took a bamboo bank herself.

Ng Siew Peng, Senior Assistant of SJK(C) Paya Mengkuang, is also a Tzu Chi volunteer. She specially prepared presentation slides and a few video footages of Da Ai Headlines relating to the bamboo bank, to share the history of the Bamboo Bank Era with ten students who benefitted from the provision of school uniforms and shoes.

Principal Lee Koon Lek is also no stranger to Tzu Chi. He has installed Da Ai TV at home and has joined Tzu Chi’s activities before. Besides expressing his gratitude and commendation for Tzu Chi, he suggested to promote the spirit of the Bamboo Bank Era to the whole school to evoke love in the students. He shared, “I hope that the students will learn to reciprocate the kindness they have received to create a better world filled with love and warmth.”

Jordan Teh Xuan Hong, a Primary 5 student from SJK(C) Paya Mengkuang, has a great ambition. He hopes to become a scientist and research on water-fuelled vehicles to prevent environmental pollution. Pointing to the line printed on the bamboo bank label that read, “Great kindness originates from small donations”, he said, “It reminds me to emulate Tzu Chi volunteers, to always remember to help those in need while inventing good things.” From now on, he has planted the thought of helping others in his ambitious plan.

 

 

Principal Tee Khok How of SJK(C) Pay Chiao immediately set up the brand new computer set for use upon receiving it. [Photograph by Julie Yen Yu Chu]   Principal Tay Kim Geok of SJK(C) Kemendor happily expressed the school’s wish to be a beneficiary of the book donation for the students’ benefit. [Photograph by Julie Yen Yu Chu]

Principal Tee Khok How of SJK(C) Pay Chiao immediately set up the brand new computer set for use upon receiving it. [Photograph by Julie Yen Yu Chu]
 
Principal Tay Kim Geok of SJK(C) Kemendor happily expressed the school’s wish to be a beneficiary of the book donation for the students’ benefit. [Photograph by Julie Yen Yu Chu]
 
Principal Tan Eng Lin of SJK(C)Yu Hsien (middle) gladly accepted and set up the brand new colour printer presented to the school by Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Julie Yen Yu Chu]   Tzu Chi volunteers presented school shoes to the scheme beneficiaries of SJK(C) Lendu. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

Principal Tan Eng Lin of SJK(C)Yu Hsien (middle) gladly accepted and set up the brand new colour printer presented to the school by Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Julie Yen Yu Chu]
 
 
Tzu Chi volunteers presented school shoes to the scheme beneficiaries of SJK(C) Lendu. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
Principal Lee Siew Chin of SJK(C) Lendu accepted the books from Tzu Chi volunteers on behalf of the school, in the presence of some teachers and students. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]   rincipal Ng Siew Peng of SJK(C) Paya Mengkuang shared about the origins of Tzu Chi’s Bamboo Bank Era. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

Principal Lee Siew Chin of SJK(C) Lendu accepted the books from Tzu Chi volunteers on behalf of the school, in the presence of some teachers and students. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
 
Principal Ng Siew Peng of SJK(C) Paya Mengkuang shared about the origins of Tzu Chi’s Bamboo Bank Era. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]