Wednesday, Aug 23rd

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 04 September 2011 00:00

Touching Stories at Tzu Chi Melaka's 2011 Study Grant Presentation Ceremonies

Written by  By Yong Siew Lee & Low Siew Lian, Melaka/ Translated by Hew Kwee Heong

Besides cash, each recipient was given a set of environmentally-friendly dining utensils.【Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen】

On September 4, 2011, 2,613 successful applicants of Tzu Chi Melaka's 2011 Study Grant Scheme attended the three presentation ceremonies held at Pay Fong High School. They were given money, environmentally-friendly dining set, school uniforms, shoes, and so on.


Since 1971, the Malaysian New Economic Policy (NEP), which was later replaced by the National Development Policy, was implemented to eradicate poverty. According to official statistics, the Policy has successfully reduced poverty rate to 3.7%. But, a recent survey indicated that 40% of Malaysian families earn less than RM1,500/- per month. 

Since 1997, Tzu Chi Melaka has been handing out study grants to needy students; and applications have been increasing with each year. Tzu Chi volunteers visit schools to obtain the list of applicants, and this will be followed by an assessment visit to each applicant's home. 

In 2011, the Study Grant Scheme has benefited 2,613 students (primary and secondary) from low-income families, as well as, families under Tzu Chi's long-term care in Melaka.

On September 4, 2011, Tzu Chi Melaka held three Presentation Ceremonies in the grand hall of Pay Fong High School. On this occasion, besides money (to be deposited into the successful applicants' bank account later or in the form voucher) and Tzu Chi Free Clinic Visit Card (valid for one-year), every successful student also received a book, an environmentally-friendly dining set, new and recycled uniforms, shoes, bags, reference books and stationery.

Through a drama presented by the volunteers, the students and their parents learnt about the concept and benefits of using one's own dining utensils. This was followed by the screening of a musical adaptation of the Sutra of Filial Piety to enable the participants to learn about the spirit of filial piety.

Improve livelihood and mind

In August this year, Mr Zhu De Kun, a construction worker, fractured his left hand and left leg in a car accident. Shortly after, his family went into financial difficulties.

The family of 6 depended solely on his wife, Wu Xue Fen's merger income of RM400. Although they had assistance from friends and relatives, they had to stop their children's tuition classes. Their eldest son, a national taekwondo practitioner, also had to stop his training in this martial art because the family could not afford the transportation fees although the coach is willing to give free lessons.

When volunteers found out about the family's predicament during their assessment visit, they immediately provided cash relief to the family, took them on as a long-term care-recipient and invited them to seek treatment at Tzu Chi's Free Clinic.

To further reduce the couple's burden, volunteers also approved study grants to three of their children. However, when Mr Zhu resumed work, the monthly subsidy from Tzu Chi was reduced by half. Despite this, the family has become donating members of Tzu Chi.

Bhavani's wish

Bhavani from Jasin, Melaka, became Tzu Chi's long-term care-recipient in 2008 through the Study Grant Scheme.

Bhavani, a kidney patient, recently discovered that she has a tumour in her uterus. With only her husband working in a plantation, the family could not afford Bhavani's huge medical bills. Despite financial constraints and four children to care for, a very kind Bhavani has also adopted her brother's child. With Tzu Chi's help, her two older girls are furthering their studies in colleges and the other three are now in secondary schools.

Bhavani said she had thought of sacrificing the children's education but because they are all very good at studying, she decided to find ways to continue sending them to school.

Hemah said she had struggled with the decision to go to school or to work. However, with aid from Tzu Chi, she can now study and pursue her dream to become a successful businesswoman without worries.

Bhavani and her family are donating members of Tzu Chi as they would like to help people who are less fortunate than them. Bhavani also hopes to become a Tzu Chi volunteer when her children are all grown up and independent.

Embracing the spirit of bamboo bank

Jeya and son, Theepan Raj, brought their bamboo coin banks to donate when they attended the second session of the Study Grant Presentation Ceremony.

Four years ago, Jeya and family were in great difficulties but they are much better now. Lately, when she went on home visits with Tzu Chi volunteers, she found many families with greater problems than hers. She hopes her children will learn to help others.

Besides the two bamboo banks they adopted last year, Jeya's husband adopted one more for their other three children to nurture the habit of doing good deeds.

At the second-hand reference books corner, a happy Jeya, with a handful of books, said, "These books will save me RM200 at least!"

Theepan Raj showed his present to his parents and told them that he would use the container to pack his food.

Nirmala's worry

Nirmala, who came with her two daughters, said, "I always worry about money when the new school term begins!"

Two years ago, Nirmala's husband met with three accidents. After his recovery, he lost his transportation business. Now, he works as a light truck driver and Nirmala also picks corn kernels to increase her family income.

With help from her four children, she makes about RM300 per month from picking corn kernels. When this work is not available during school holidays, Nirmala would take her children to her mother's house to help their grandmother to tap rubber. To Nirmala's relief, her children do study hard despite having to work as well.

Nirmala cried when recalling her family's hardships, but she was also very happy because the RM400 (which is more than her monthly income) given by Tzu Chi, will certainly help to lighten her financial burden. 

Note: The Malaysian New Economic Policy (NEP), was a socio-economic restructuring affirmative action programme launched by the Malaysian government in 1971 under the then Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak. It had the stated goal of poverty eradication and economic restructuring so as to eliminate the identification of ethnicity with economic function. It ended in 1990, and was succeeded by the National Development Policy in 1991.

 

Volunteers performing a short sketch to deliver the message of the advantages of using environmentally-friendly dining utensils.【Photograph by Hoe Sin Huang】   Tzu Chi Melaka's 2011 Study Grant Scheme benefited 2,613 students.【Photograph by Hoe Sin Huang】

Volunteers performing a short sketch to deliver the message of the advantages of using environmentally-friendly dining utensils.【Photograph by Hoe Sin Huang】
 
Tzu Chi Melaka's 2011 Study Grant Scheme benefited 2,613 students.【Photograph by Hoe Sin Huang】
 
Students, who had adopted bamboo banks last year, are seen here returning their kindness.【Photograph by Lee Chin Seong】   Jeya (left) and husband (right) took home a new bamboo bank for their children to save for good deeds.【Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon】

Students, who had adopted bamboo banks last year, are seen here returning their kindness.【Photograph by Lee Chin Seong】
 
 
Jeya (left) and husband (right) took home a new bamboo bank for their children to save for good deeds.【Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon】
 
Hemah (in light blue shirt) said she had struggled with the decision to go to school or to work. With aid from Tzu Chi, she can now study and pursue her dream to become a successful businesswoman without worries. (1st to 3rd are Hemah's mother and two brothers)【Photograph by Lee Chin Seong】   Nirmala (in white shirt) said with the study grant from Tzu Chi, she can finally relax a little bit.【Photograph by Chong Ho Teck】

Hemah (in light blue shirt) said she had struggled with the decision to go to school or to work. With aid from Tzu Chi, she can now study and pursue her dream to become a successful businesswoman without worries. (1st to 3rd are Hemah's mother and two brothers)【Photograph by Lee Chin Seong】
 
 
Nirmala (in white shirt) said with the study grant from Tzu Chi, she can finally relax a little bit.【Photograph by Chong Ho Teck】

{jathumbnail off}