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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Friday, 30 October 2015 11:10

‘Green’ Initiation in School Backed by Great Love Mothers

Written by  Yen Yu Chu, Melaka / Translated by Ong Mooi Lin

Volunteer, Li Cai Wu shared with the audience in a lively manner on environmental protection, enabling an in-depth understanding about the disasters our Earth is facing. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

“Individual effort is insufficient, we must increase public awareness and appeal for more people to work hard to protect the environment. I will give my full support to promote recycling in school!” remarked student Ng Qi You who took down notes attentively. Another student, Thin Yan Xin, concurred that recycling concept and action must be passed on to future generations, to ensure continuous efforts are maintained.


 
Following the Ministry of Education’s initiation of on-the-job-training (latihan dalam perkhidmatan) for teachers in service, at least seven days yearly, Tzu Chi Melaka has since August 2010, started organizing Humanistic Culture sharing sessions.
 
After learning from Tzu Chi about recycling and having witnessed the effective results of recycling activities in school led by Great Love Mothers, Foo Wah Eng, a Vice School Principal then, had enhanced her recognition of the concept of environmental protection.
 
In 2015, Wah Eng was promoted to School Principal and transferred to SJK(C) Kiow Min. Much to her dismay, the voluminous trash in the canteen was not pre-sorted and segregated. Hence, she started a series of recycling activities and campaigns.
 
However, being inexperienced and with limited means and knowledge, she realized that experienced personnel was needed to guide the teachers and students to carry out recycling activities in school. The image of Great Love Mothers then crossed her mind, and with the right conditions, an environmental protection talk was held on October 30, 2015.
 
Support with action
 
The Great Love Mothers presented movies and stories to the audience comprising teachers, students and parents. Volunteer Li Cai Wu used a lively way to educate the adults and children on environmental protection and the natural disasters our Earth is facing. The audience paid great attention and squeals and whispers could be heard occasionally.
 
Ng Qi You, a Primary 5 student, listened attentively while taking down important notes. The movie showing melting iceberg due to global warming has enhanced his understanding. “One’s effort is insufficient, we must create public awareness and appeal for more people to work hard to protect the environment. I will give my full support to promote recycling in school!”
 
As a pioneer in SJK(C) Kiow Min recycling efforts, Qi You was committed. As he had little knowledge about segregation of recyclables initially, he did research on the Internet. His spirit to protect the environment was not hindered even when he failed to be selected as a pathfinder.
 
He said in an adult-manner: “It is not important whether I am selected as a pathfinder or not. It is more important to protect the Earth where we live on. Thus, everyone must put in their effort in conserving the environment.”
 
Turning leftovers into fertilizer
 
Immediately after the talk, Primary 5 students were seen squatting under the hot sun in the field happily turning the leftovers into fertilizer. The voice of Vice Principal, Chua Ai Lin’s friendly reminder rang in the air: “Fiddling is not necessary, spread evenly and let the sun dry it. Let’s return to the classroom!”
 
Despite the repeated reminders, the children, who were immersed in joy and engrossed in the activity, were reluctant to return to the classroom.
 
Turning leftovers into fertilizers is an experiment carried out first by the Primary 5 students in the school. If successful, it will be extended school-wide later. This brilliant idea came from the school’s Principal and Vice Principal.
 
Principal Wah Eng has long heard about the success of recycling efforts in SJK(C) Bukit Beruang thanks to the long-term support of Great Love Mothers in the school. Hence, the Vice Principal, Ai Lin was requested to visit SJK(C) Bukit Beruang in August and learn the effective ways to promote recycling in school.
 
There, Ai Lin mentioned to the Great Love Mothers that Principal Wah Eng missed the days of how the Great Love Mothers have mindfully guided the teachers and students in recycling back in her former school. It was hoped that the Great Love Mothers could also do the same for SJK(C) Kiow Min. With that, a talk on environmental protection was made possible as the first step.
 
The “secret recipe” of turning the leftovers into fertilizer was one of the many ways Ai Lin picked up during her visit to SJK(C) Bukit Beruang. She said happily: “To turn the leftovers to useful resources, we just need to mix the rice bran with the leftovers. Repeat this step for three weeks and in the final stage, dry the mixture in the sun. It has been a month since the students carried out the experiment.”
 
Seeing the food waste discarded by students, she has thus appealed to them to bring the leftovers to school, recycle them so that they could be turned into useful resources. Out of curiosity, the students agreed to participate.
 
Ai Lin felt that this could enhance the students’ understanding of biological science, from leftovers to decomposition by bacteria and eventually formation of fertilizer. The whole process, which involves observation, formation of micro-organism and their eco-life, and hands-on experience, has enabled students to deepen their learning experience.
 
Inculcating the green concept in future generations
 
Primary 5 student, Thin Yan Xin, who was happily fiddling with the mixtures said, “I don’t find this dirty or stinky. Moreover, worms need food to survive like human beings. I am not afraid and am anticipating the result with excitement.”
 
The school has also introduced recycling among the Primary 5 students with paper sorting initially, and this was subsequently extended throughout the school in the past two months. Yan Xin could feel the strength in unity. She expressed that an individual effort is limited but when the whole school is doing it, the team effort is overwhelming. Before, the discarded items were piled up; but now, the school’s surrounding looks cleaner and tidier.
 
With volunteers’ explanations and movie sharing, she has gained a deeper understanding of the inter-connection between environmental protection and living conditions on Earth, be it water shortage, famine, food crisis, global warming and so on.
 
She hopes that being the pioneer in campus recycling, she is able to continue building a strong foundation and pass down the concept and practice for many more generations to come by encouraging more people and families in society to participate.
 
Promote recycling through education
 
Principal Wah Eng recalled that when she was first transferred to SJK(C) Kiow Min, the canteen’s daily food waste was voluminous, and there were also numerous vitagen bottles and milk boxes discarded by the 187 students daily. Another threat to the rubbish issue were the styrofoam containers used by parents when packing food for their children.
 
She then gradually promoted environmental protection in school. She started with zero food waste campaign, followed by prohibition of styrofoam usage, placement of recyclable bins in the canteen, guiding the students to sort, and further implementation at class- and school-wide level upon positive response and results.
 
Due to the remote location of the school and insufficient manpower, the Great Love Mothers decided to hold a talk to first educate the teachers, students and parents. This will be followed by recycling activities.
 
Volunteer Chua Yih Tan said, “Volunteers will do their best to support by providing resources and information when the school endeavours to promote recycling. Currently, the main aim is to encourage a few parents, teachers and students to do it, with the hope of training the in-house volunteers to shoulder the recycling mission.”
 
Principal Wah Eng agreed with the volunteers’ suggestion. With the school holidays fast approaching, she has decided that she will explain more to the parents and promote the concept actively next year. She remarked, “Today’s sharing by experienced volunteers was meant to allow teachers, students and parents to gain a better understanding, thereby making it easier to put into practice.”
 
She hopes to inspire a few parents coming to the school in the morning to help in the recycling activities. With a stronger commitment on environmental protection, it is hoped that they would practise it at home too.
 
 
Principal Wah Eng further explained that proceeds from the sale of recyclables would be channelled to the students’ welfare, through helping the needy families or poor students to purchase the necessary stationery. This coincides with Tzu Chi’s philosophy of turning trash into gold and gold into loving-kindness.
 
Wah Eng and Ai Lin have diligently promoted recycling in their school despite lacking experience. They have seized every opportunity to learn from others, and even appealed to the Great Love Mothers for support, hoping to enhance the teachers, parents and students’ understanding, cultivate an act to love the Earth in everyone and alleviate the increasingly critical environmental pollution.
 
 

 
Foo Wah Eng was inspired after participating in a Tzu Chi Humanistic Culture sharing session. She began to launch recycling activities in school when promoted as Principal of SJK(C) Kiow Min in 2015. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]   Vice Principal, Chua Ai Lin made a trip to SJK(C) Bukit Beruang in August to learn ways of promoting recycling in school. [Photograph by Loh Siew Chien]

Foo Wah Eng was inspired after participating in a Tzu Chi Humanistic Culture sharing session. She began to launch recycling activities in school when promoted as Principal of SJK(C) Kiow Min in 2015. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
Vice Principal, Chua Ai Lin made a trip to SJK(C) Bukit Beruang in August to learn ways of promoting recycling in school. [Photograph by Loh Siew Chien]
 
The Great Love Mothers were seen leading the children in team activities. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]   Primary 5 student, Ng Qi You, listened attentively while jotting down important notes. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

The Great Love Mothers were seen leading the children in team activities. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
 
Primary 5 student, Ng Qi You, listened attentively while jotting down important notes. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
The experiment of turning leftovers to fertilizer at SJK(C) Kiow Min was carried out by Primary 5 students as a start. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]    

The experiment of turning leftovers to fertilizer at SJK(C) Kiow Min was carried out by Primary 5 students as a start. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]