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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 11 November 2012 00:00

Brighten Up the Path to Education with Blessings

Written by  By KL & Selangor Documenting Team / Translated by Peggy Lee

With respectful hearts, volunteers presented not only the awards, but also blessings.【Photograph by Lim Kar Guan】

Twenty-two "Study Grant-cum-Award Presentation Ceremony" were held at various primary and secondary schools throughout Kuala Lumpur and Selangor on October 28, November 4 & 11, 2012. Through the joint efforts of 555 schools, Tzu Chi's Study Grant Scheme has benefitted 7,754 students.


Tzu Chi Melaka's Teachers' Association started the "Study Grant for the Poor' scheme in 1997. Liaison Offices in central, south Peninsular and East Malaysia consecutively followed suit but limited the study grant to only Chinese students.

Later the Charity Group took over the scheme and expanded the coverage to students of other races and care-recipients' children. In 2008, it was renamed as "Seeds of Hope" Study Grant Scheme. Volunteers were mobilized to visit selected schools, followed by home visits. From the home visits, they found some suffering families, who were then referred to the "Charity" section.

Chan Bee Peng, Team Leader of Social Service Group, Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, informed that there is a big increase in applications for the study grant, from 7,000-plus students last year to more than 10,000 this year. With this increase, the volunteers took months to conduct the school and home visits.

Three new merit awards - Filial Piety Award, Morality Award and Great Improvement Award - were also presented this year. The awards were aimed at encouraging students from both primary and secondary schools to work hard and to perform good deeds. Recipients were awarded cash prizes plus a voucher to purchase school uniforms, shoes, school bags, and so on, from the designated school supply store. They were also given clinic cards which enable the students and their immediate family members to get free medical treatment at the Tzu Chi Free Clinic in Pudu.

Recognition and cultivation of moral values

The "Study Grant-cum-Awards Presentation Ceremony" held at Choong Wen Chinese Primary School in Old Klang Road, had the highest number of recipients. The morning session was attended by 1,300 people, with 90% being Indian students. 630 students received the study grant and 109 students also received merit awards. In the afternoon session attended by some 800-plus people, mostly Chinese, there were 315 recipients, of which 97 received double awards.

Echo Chien, CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, informed that the three new awards would serve as encouragement and recognition to the students from low income families to build up their humanistic character with time. It will also help the respective schools in cultivating more outstanding students.

She said, "If a teacher can be so mindful in writing a recommendation for a student to receive the merit awards, he/she must be a good teacher." She is very grateful to these teachers for their efforts and hope that Tzu Chi can build up a close interaction with all the schools, and to recognize and encourage the dedicated teachers from different races to be of Tzu Chi's activities.

Significance of the new awards

Li Xiu Yan, Deputy Headmistress of Yuk Chyun Primary School indicated that 80% of her students are from low income families. As such, many parents would face financial difficulties at the beginning of the new school year. She is very grateful that the study grant will solve the urgent needs of these families.

Madam Li also thought that the three newly implemented merit awards were significant and would serve as incentives for students who are good at studies but do not consider education as important . For immature students, this would give them a good push.

Fifty-nine students from her school received the merit awards. Chen Yin Xi, a student recommended by her for the Great Improvement Award, has shown a significant change within a short period of a few weeks. In class, he listens attentively and is eager to ask questions; and he finishes all the homework given by teachers with enthusiasm.

Yin Xi's words of gratefulness for his mother's upbringing touched her deeply. She said, "Yin Xi has shown great improvement lately. Teachers used to complain to me that he was not concentrating in class and did not do his homework well; and I would always advise him on the importance of studying. I am very pleased he has heeded my advice as well as, the advice from his father; and together with his teachers' encouragement, he has changed. I feel very happy and comforted."

Touched to tears

Latha, a parent, was moved to tears when sharing her predicament and the timely help rendered by Tzu Chi. Her emotional sharing also moved the audience, including Ganeswari, the Deputy Headmistress of Serdang Tamil School, who accompanied her on stage.

Ganeswari, who was the translator for the day, informed that when she was first introduced to Tzu Chi, she was inspired by the story of the Bamboo Bank. On this occasion, she was very touched when she witnessed the warmth from people of different races and cultures, who had gathered and shared the spirit of Tzu Chi's great love. Ganeswari highly commended Tzu Chi for its organizational capability. The programmes were very inspiring and the award presentation went very smoothly and efficiently despite the large number of students receiving their awards.

Caring and great love

Lai Li Chun from Serdang has four children, three of whom are study grant recipients. She and her mother are also taking care of three other children abandoned by her siblings. These three children also received the study grant.

Li Chun's husband left home after a heated argument about having to fend for her siblings' children. They never heard from him again. This eally saddened her but she turned her sorrow into courage to shoulder the responsibilities of bringing up all the seven children and to carry on with an even stronger determination to give them a good life. As she cannot leave home because of the seven children, she has resorted to folding paper boxes at home for a small income, while her mother works at a hawker stall.

Although it is very difficult for her to make ends meet, she would not give the children up. She said, "I can do without food, but not the kids. I must feed them and educate them." She treats all the seven children as her very own and loves them with all her heart.

Li Chun is also very grateful for the assistance from her elder brother and sister, who supplied disposable diapers and milk powder for the children. Her elder brother also provided an old car for her to run errands. Realizing her aunt's burden, Li Chun's 11-year old niece, Mei Yan, would act as big sister to the siblings, assisting them in doing homework and all the children live together harmoniously.

Joy of helping

One of the programmes for this year's ceremony was the sign language presentation by Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth and Tzu Chi Teenagers. They performed two songs namely: "Xing Fu De Lian (Faces of Happiness)" and "Yi Jia Ren (One Family)". Tzu Chi volunteers also presented a play based on the Bamboo Bank story and a well-known song, "Rasa Sayang".

There were also video presentations and these included an introduction to the history of the Bamboo Bank; life study of children from Lambada, Kota Kinabalu; the challenges of getting donations; the sorrows of illiterates, and so on. They were all aimed at encouraging students to study hard, and at the same time, convey the message to parents and teachers that ‘to do good deed is not the privilege of the wealthy, but the participation of anyone mindful'.

Parvathy from Serdang was at the ceremony with her Year One child, Daarshanee. Her husband is a factory worker, who does not earn enough to feed a family of eight, including five children. Despite their hard life, they have realized the importance of education and always encourage their children to study hard. Three of their children were recommended to apply for the study grant but, after learning that their neighbour needed the assistance more than them, her husband willingly handed two application forms to their neighbour, and kept one for their child.

When approached by volunteers with the "Power of RM10" donation form at the Donation Counter and told that a small amount of money could be accumulated to do good deed, Parvathy filled up the form to become a member and donated RM10 without hesitation. She said, "The poor know the poor's distress. Today we received assistance from Tzu Chi, so I should respond to the call to make a small contribution in order to benefit more poor people like us."

Parents and children equally happy

Kamaladevi's Year 6 son, Xaviraj, was forced to leave school after her husband suffered a stroke and was unable to work. Xaviraj worked as a van driver's assistant to help support the family for a year before his teachers helped to re-enroll him. Based on his academic performance and good behaviour, he was awarded the study grant this year. Kamaladevi is very grateful for the timely aid from Tzu Chi, as this has solved her problems in paying for her son's school fees and miscellaneous expenses when school reopens.

Sivaneswary, who accompanied her two children to the ceremony, shared that as her husband's income fluctuate from month to month and her salary is low, they always have problems at the beginning of each new school year. She is very thankful for the assistance provided by Tzu Chi.

After watching the video presentations, Sivaneswary said, "Today is the first time I witnessed such a heartwarming ceremony. The volunteers respectfully bowed and presented the awards to recipients, regardless of race and religion. I am so touched! I want to be a Tzu Chi volunteer. I want to be able to give back just like what you are doing now ." She really admired the great love and the volunteers' willingness to give; and she cannot wait to become a volunteer.



Poverty should not be the obstacle to education but a motivation to work even harder. The most fruitful result from the ceremony is being able to inspire the hearts of the recipients. While they are receiving aid, they are inspired to give back and become Bodhisattvas.

 

The biggest ‘Study Grant-cum-Awards Presentation Ceremony' was held at Choong Wen Chinese Primary School. A total of more than 2,000 people were present.【Photograph by Lim Su Nguan】 Beside RM200 cash awards, students were given a medical card to get free medical treatment at Tzu Chi Free Clinic.【Photograph by Ang Cheng Peng】

The biggest ‘Study Grant-cum-Awards Presentation Ceremony' was held at Choong Wen Chinese Primary School. A total of more than 2,000 people were present.【Photograph by Lim Su Nguan】

Beside RM200 cash awards, students were given a medical card to get free medical treatment at Tzu Chi Free Clinic.【Photograph by Ang Cheng Peng】
Guest performers from the Tzu Chi's Parent-Child Bonding Class.【Photograph by Ong Siew Geok】 Chen Yin Xi from Yuk Chyun Primary School (middle) received The Great Improvement Awards. Teacher Zhang Ni Ni (left) witnessed his achievement and was so happy for him. On the right is his proud mother.【Photograph by Lim Su Nguan】

Guest performers from the Tzu Chi's Parent-Child Bonding Class.【Photograph by Ong Siew Geok】

Chen Yin Xi from Yuk Chyun Primary School (middle) received The Great Improvement Awards. Teacher Zhang Ni Ni (left) witnessed his achievement and was so happy for him. On the right is his proud mother.【Photograph by Lim Su Nguan】
Madam Latha 's (right) tears rolled down uncontrollably when mentioning the timely aid rendered by Tzu Chi. Same goes with the Deputy Headmistress from Serdang Tamil school, Ganeswary (left).【Photograph by Lim Su Nguan】 Grant recipients' hearts were inspired to contribute while receiving.【Photograph by Lee Loong Hin】

Madam Latha 's (right) tears rolled down uncontrollably when mentioning the timely aid rendered by Tzu Chi. Same goes with the Deputy Headmistress from Serdang Tamil school, Ganeswary (left).【Photograph by Lim Su Nguan】

Grant recipients' hearts were inspired to contribute while receiving.【Photograph by Lee Loong Hin】
Lai Li Chun was so grateful that 3 of her own children and 3 nieces and nephew under her care received the study grant. This would definitely lessen her financial burden.【Photograph by Yong Kar Chew】

Lai Li Chun was so grateful that 3 of her own children and 3 nieces and nephew under her care received the study grant. This would definitely lessen her financial burden.【Photograph by Yong Kar Chew】

 

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