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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Tuesday, 06 January 2015 11:33

Great Love from Children to Flood Victims

Written by  Yen Yu Chu, Melaka / Translated by Eg Zhong-Qi

After dismissal, a few students from Da Ai Educare Centre carried around donation boxes to collect donations from parents and fellow classmates alike. [Photograph by Yen Yu Chu]

Pictures of what seemed to be the sea, with vague objects sticking out here and there, gradually flashed across the projector. With the teacher’s simple explanations, the children of Da Ai Educare Centre could comprehend that they were actually looking at aerial shots of areas struck severely by the floods, and the tiny things sticking out of the water were the roofs of houses! They were blown away by what they had just seen and heard, but with the teacher’s help, they understood that despite the disaster, there is love everywhere; and that they could do their part to help.


 
After the weekly assembly on January 6, 2015, the second day of the new school year, five- and six-year-old children of Da Ai Educare Centre in Melaka stayed back in the International Conference Hall, as another half hour event was arranged to explain the flood situation in Malaysia to them. The teachers believed that this was a perfect opportunity to inspire kindness in these children and help them build a positive and correct attitude towards life in general.
 
As they sat below the stage, the children’s attention was firmly transfixed on the projected images. Teacher Ong Siew Fong employed simple terms to explain to the children the numerous news reports from the past few days. She informed them about the affected areas, how the flood occurred and how Tzu Chi volunteers are helping the locals in their time of need. She also used an interactive Q & A session to motivate the children to think about the victims’ needs and how they can give their all to help the victims recover.
 
Teacher Ong told the children, “As it is a long journey to the affected areas, we are unable to be there in person. But what we can do is to donate a portion of our pocket money, and entrust ‘shigu shibo’ (used by the young when addressing the elder volunteers) to take along and deliver all our love and support to the victims.” 
 
Sincere prayers for the flood victims
 
While the children were praying for the victims sincerely, six-year-old Lai Yan Shan of Da Shan Class made a wish for the victims to be healthy and that the floodwaters would quickly subside, allowing them a safe passage home.
 
As the event drew to a close, Principal Tan Chye Choo and Teacher Sia Lee Hui each carried a donation box around to collect the children’s love in the form of donations. Standing in front of the box, six-year-old Soh Ryobin put his hands together and offered a prayer for the victims. As it turned out, he had actually forgotten his pocket money that day, but he gave everything he had at that moment, that is, his love and well-wishes, to the victims.
 
Contributing their little donations
 
Six-year-old Lim Xin Yao of Da Yi Class said, “I saw a ‘shigu’ collecting donations in front of a vegetarian restaurant last night. I donated a little money in the donation box.” Today, when she saw the dire situation faced by the victims, she felt sad and was prompted her to once again give her allowance to those in need. “They don’t have clean water to drink, nothing to eat, and even their clothes have been washed away. They also have no home to stay. The least I can do is to give a little to help them,” said Xin Yao, who added that the donations can also help the children to buy textbooks for the new school term.
 
Six-year-old Kong Pei En donated all of her savings from her bamboo bank without hesitation. Although she may not know of the affected places, the horrors shown to her had moved her significantly. She prayed for the rain to stop and that the victims would have a decent place to live in, with uncontaminated food and drinks.
 
A lesson of Great Love
 
That afternoon, as the dismissal bell rang out throughout the courtyard, a few students carried donation boxes around to collect donations from parents and students. Accompanied by Teacher Chua Kwi Siang, a shy Teo Tze Ryong, approached a lady but was unable to explain the aim of the donation drive. However, with his teacher’s help, the lady understood; and patting on his head, she praised his bravery and happily exclaimed her appreciation for all that Tzu Chi was doing to enable the children to understand events that occurred in the world, while also motivating them to do what they could.
 
Choo Yen Le’s mother, who donated some money said, “Children rarely have the opportunity to learn about giving, but the kindergarten has been educating them whenever possible, and they learn to help others naturally.” For example, Yen Le would always tell her, “Don’t worry, Tzu Chi will help them!” whenever she came across cases of poverty or disaster. Through long-term exposure to love and kindness, Yen Le learnt that there will be kind people to reach out to the needy; and she herself has also learnt to give.
 
Solicit donations courageously
 
Bong Si Min from six-year-old Da Yi Class held a donation box and courteously greeted the parents, teachers and her peers before asking for donations. Attracted by her tender voice, many put some money into the donation box.
 
Hearing the calls of her peers, Choo Yan En from six-year-old Da Yi Class took some money from her purse and put equal share in two donation boxes. When approached by a third child for donation, she waved her purse and answered loudly, “I have no more!” Her cute and playful look drew laughter from all present. Having donated some money in the morning and all the balance after school, she said happily, “I want to send my well-wishes to all.”
 
 
As the floodwaters subsided, most of the flood-stricken areas in the East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia were just muddy wastelands. With entire neighbourhoods destroyed and in desperate need of external aid, the barriers between different races, religions and ages have disappeared completely, and what emerged was a show of unity and cooperation in helping the victims. With the Da Ai Educare Centre taking a proactive approach towards helping the victims by organizing such an event, the adults can help the children to send all their love and prayers to the hearts of the victims, hoping to warm their hearts and show them that they are not alone.
 
 
In simple terms, Teacher Ong Siew Fong explained to the children the flood situation, reasons why it happened, where it happened, and how Tzu Chi volunteers have been assisting the victims. [Photograph by Yen Yu Chu]   The entire student body of the Da Ai Educare Centre prayed for the safety of the flood victims. [Photograph by Yen Yu Chu]

In simple terms, Teacher Ong Siew Fong explained to the children the flood situation, reasons why it happened, where it happened, and how Tzu Chi volunteers have been assisting the victims. [Photograph by Yen Yu Chu]
 
The entire student body of the Da Ai Educare Centre prayed for the safety of the flood victims. [Photograph by Yen Yu Chu]
 
Six-year-old Zhang Zhi Rong from Da Yi Class shyly approached a lady for contributions. She praised his bravery and compassion in doing good deeds. [Photograph by Yen Yu Chu]   When six-year-old Lim Xin Yao of Da Yi Class ran into a Tzu Chi volunteer collecting donations the day before the event, she happily contributed along with the rest of her family. On this day, she did the same, giving out a portion of her pocket money for a good cause. [Photograph by Yen Yu Chu]

Six-year-old Zhang Zhi Rong from Da Yi Class shyly approached a lady for contributions. She praised his bravery and compassion in doing good deeds. [Photograph by Yen Yu Chu]
 
When six-year-old Lim Xin Yao of Da Yi Class ran into a Tzu Chi volunteer collecting donations the day before the event, she happily contributed along with the rest of her family. On this day, she did the same, giving out a portion of her pocket money for a good cause. [Photograph by Yen Yu Chu]