Tuesday, Oct 24th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 03 January 2015 00:00

Launching the Cash-for-Work Programme

Written by  Gan Chian Nee, KL & Selangor / Translated by Chong Pei Fen

On January 3, 2015, volunteers loaded cleaning paraphernalia for transportation from KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall to Temerloh. [Photograph by Woo Yoke Bee]

Eight Malaysian states have been seriously affected by a major flood. Although floodwaters have receded in some places, mud and debris are everywhere. Master Cheng Yen suggested that the Malaysian volunteers carry out a cash-for-work programme to help the victims clean up their homes. This programme, involving more than a thousand people, is most practical for the affected areas in Temerloh, Pahang, which are closely located.


 
Tzu Chi volunteer, David Liu returned from Taiwan to Malaysia on December 31, 2014, to guide the local volunteers in the flood relief. An emergency meeting was called soon after he arrived at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall, and a ten-person team departed for Temerloh, the following day, to assess the situation and plan for relief work.
 
David Liu met Zheng Qian Xing, an entrepreneur from Mentakab, and told him about Tzu Chi’s plan to conduct a cash-for-work programme. An affinity between Tzu Chi and Mr Zheng was established in 2011, when the latter generously offered a commercial unit developed by his company to Tzu Chi free of charge, to be set up as Tzu Chi Temerloh Liaison Office and a Jing-Si Books & Café.
 
In the Temerloh floods this time, Mr Zheng had visited the affected areas himself, provided boats to evacuate the victims and offered his best assistance to those in need. At 5 pm, Mr Zheng accompanied Tzu Chi volunteers to the affected areas in four-wheel drive vehicles. They arrived at the Temerloh Buddhist Association, then visited the village head, Chen Shi Chang, and Mentakab assemblyman, Chua Boon Seong, to discuss the cash-for-work programme in detail.
 
Since January 2, 2015, Tzu Chi KL & Selangor has deployed 70 four-wheel drive vehicles and some 300 volunteers to Lipis, Padang Tengku and Sungai Koyan, where the floodwaters have receded, to visit and comfort the victims. Meanwhile, a cash-for-work programme will soon be carried out in a few disaster areas in Temerloh to help the victims restore their homes and communities on their own efforts. A central kitchen to supply hot meals and a large-scale cash relief distribution are also planned.
 
After attaining a consensus with representatives of local non-governmental organizations and the village head, Tzu Chi made SJK(C) Khee Chee, Temerloh, the gathering point. Thus, volunteers and public members from all across Malaysia will gather at the school upon their arrival in Temerloh on the early morning of January 4, before they are dispatched in groups to assist in the clean-up.
 
Concerted effort from everyone
 
On January 2, 2015, David Liu reported to Master Cheng Yen, “We had visited affected areas in Temerloh yesterday. The floodwaters are expected to recede after two days, and our priority will be on the cash-for-work programme. Seventy per cent of the locals are Malays. We will mobilize a thousand locals for the cash-for-work programme.”
 
The cash-for-work programme is expected to last for three days. It is hoped that more people can get involved to shorten the time needed. This operation, which will be a great breakthrough for volunteers in Malaysia, will include two food preparatory groups (one Malay and one Chinese group), with Malay friends leading the distribution. At the same time, more than 300 Tzu Chi volunteers will conduct home visits to bring warmth and comfort to the victims, besides learning about their concerns and problems, as well as, the actual situation; and all these will be reported to the Master for further evaluation on the cash relief.
 
On the same day (January 2), Tzu Chi KL & Selangor also made arrangements for a truck full of cleaning paraphernalia to be sent to Temerloh on January 3, in preparation for the large-scale clean-up, scheduled to commence on January 4. Furthermore, ten gravel trucks, five bulldozers and five scrapers will also be dispatched to the disaster areas to assist in the mass clean-up and to transport the debris.
 
David Liu said that Tzu Chi will use previous experiences in large-scale international disaster relief to help in further planning. Volunteers will also follow Tzu Chi Philippines’ approach and advocate Tzu Chi’s philosophy to the public at the gathering point before the mass clean-up commences.
 
Master Cheng Yen hopes that the volunteers could garner the power of the locals and be grounded while carrying out the relief work step-by-step. The Master also called for the volunteers to ensure their own safety and avoid going to unsafe areas.
 
 
A truck-load of rain boots and cleaning paraphernalia to be sent to Temerloh for the mass clean-up involving more than a thousand people. [Photograph by Woo Yoke Bee]   Members of the public came to the Jing Si Hall to offer their help in carrying the flood relief items. [Photograph by Woo Yoke Bee]

A truck-load of rain boots and cleaning paraphernalia to be sent to Temerloh for the mass clean-up involving more than a thousand people. [Photograph by Woo Yoke Bee]
 
Members of the public came to the Jing Si Hall to offer their help in carrying the flood relief items. [Photograph by Woo Yoke Bee]
 
David Liu (2nd from left) returned from Taiwan to Malaysia to lead the flood relief. He is seen here discussing about the cash-for-work programme with Zheng Qian Xing (in white top) and other volunteers. [Photograph by Lai Nyok Chan]   Zheng Qian Xing accompanied the volunteers to Temerloh Buddhist Association and visited village head, Chen Shi Chang, and Mentakab assemblyman, Chua Boon Seong, to discuss the cash-for-work programme in detail. [Photograph by Chen Si Yun]

David Liu (2nd from left) returned from Taiwan to Malaysia to lead the flood relief. He is seen here discussing about the cash-for-work programme with Zheng Qian Xing (in white top) and other volunteers. [Photograph by Lai Nyok Chan]
 
 
Zheng Qian Xing accompanied the volunteers to Temerloh Buddhist Association and visited village head, Chen Shi Chang, and Mentakab assemblyman, Chua Boon Seong, to discuss the cash-for-work programme in detail. [Photograph by Chen Si Yun]
 
Volunteers, who arrived in Temerloh earlier, prepared the wheelbarrows for the clean-up. [Photograph by Choo Kok Choi]   Volunteers filled the bowls with instant rice a day before the mass clean-up. All that is needed is to pour some hot water and wait for 15 minutes for the rice to be ready. [Photograph by Choo Kok Choi]

Volunteers, who arrived in Temerloh earlier, prepared the wheelbarrows for the clean-up. [Photograph by Choo Kok Choi]
 
 
Volunteers filled the bowls with instant rice a day before the mass clean-up. All that is needed is to pour some hot water and wait for 15 minutes for the rice to be ready. [Photograph by Choo Kok Choi]