Saturday, Oct 21st

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Thursday, 11 November 2010 11:57

A Family Who Benefited from Tzu Chi's Study Grant Scheme

Written by  By Low Siew Lian, Melaka / Translated by Ng Chong Seau Horng

During the Deepavali Festival, volunteers visited Siva and his family. Picture shows Gobi serving tosai to the volunteers.【Photograph by Low Siew Lian】

Kalidas stopped schooling after his father was injured in an accident, and had to work to provide for his siblings' education. To repay his brother's kindness, Gobi studied hard and obtained good results.


Kalidas was 15 years old when his father, Sivasubramaniam (or Siva), had to stop work due to an accident. His mother, Mahaswary, was then left with the burden of providing for the family of six on an income of less than RM500.

Mahaswary had so much worries due to her financial constraints that she hurt her finger while operating a machine at her workplace. Despite her injury, she still continued to work with her finger bandaged.

Being the eldest child, and aware of the family's financial hardship, a helpless and depressed Kalidas asked himself, "How to study without money?" So, he decided to stop schooling to enable his three younger siblings to continue with their studies.

Kalidas's parents were naturally upset with his decision.

The day after Kalidas quit schooling, Siva called Wong Shak Kong, the Tzu Chi volunteer in charge of this family, to help change Kalidas' mind.
 
Kalidas explained that he had no choice but to stop schooling due to the family's financial situation and also his lack of interest in his studies. However, Shak Kong did not agree with his decision as he knew that Kalidas had never been weak in his studies. By opting to work instead of studying would not only result in Kalidas losing out on the educational opportunity, but also that he would not make a good income to help the family.

Despite two hours of persuasion, Kalidas still stood firm in his decision. Eventually, Shak Kong had to accept it.

Kalidas' first job was as an apprenticeship in a tyre shop. A year later, he joined his mother in her farmhouse. Despite receiving more income than his mother, Kalidas realized the importance of academic qualifications in a workplace.

Former care-recipient

The road leading to this family's quarters in the farm at Durian Tunggal, Melaka, is rough and uneven with potholes and bumps. As such, drivers must be extra careful when driving on this road. The 1.4 km gravel path is the only access road to the quarters, and it is dusty on a dry day and slippery when it rains.

In June 2010, a team of Tzu Chi volunteers visited the family with the purpose of assessing their study grant application. During their visit, Siva revealed that he and his family had received Tzu Chi's aid two years ago when he was hospitalized due to an accident. His case was then referred to Tzu Chi for financial assistance by the hospital.

In mid-October this year, Siva again hurt himself while driving his children to school. This time, he was hospitalized and had to undergo three surgeries on his injury due to his diabetes. After his discharge from the hospital, Tzu Chi gave him a wheelchair and some emergency relief fund.

After the accident, the children had to walk to school. Kalidas's younger brother, Gobi, is a smart student, who was expected to do well in his UPSR examinations. Even though he knew that Kalidas' decision to stop schooling was because of his family's financial hardships, he was still upset with his brother's decision. However, Gobi's teacher always encouraged him not to give up.
 
Siva said that on the first day of UPSR, Gobi gave Kalidas a big hug to thank him for enabling him to continue with his studies. He knew that the only thing he could do to repay his brother's kindness is to study hard.

When the results were released on November 11, Siva happily informed Tzu Chi volunteers that Gobi had scored 6As in the examinations.

Not forgotten

Although Siva is no longer a Tzu Chi's care-recipient, but his children have continued to be recipients of Tzu Chi's Study Grant all these years. The money came in timely for the family again this year as they had Siva's extra medical expenses to settle. Without this financial aid, they would definitely be struggling to make ends meet.

On the October 31 Study Grant Presentation Ceremony, Mahaswary and her three children took a bus to Melaka Jing Si Hall, while Siva arrived later in his motorbike and with his toes bandaged. Although still upset with Kalidas' self-sacrifice, Siva took the opportunity to register him as a donating member of Tzu Chi after the ceremony, and hoped that he would receive all the blessings.

Kalidas, who is 17 years old now, encouraged his siblings with Shak Kong's advice given to him two years ago: "Opportunity to study only comes once, so do not miss it and study hard." Kalidas also promised the volunteers that when his family's financial situation is more stable in future, he will take up some courses for his own benefit.

 

Mr. Siva has to travel on this muddy road everyday to send his children to school.【Photograph by Low Siew Lian】 Mr. Siva going to hospital with his wife.【Photograph by Low Siew Lian】

Mr. Siva has to travel on this muddy road everyday to send his children to school.【Photograph by Low Siew Lian】

Mr. Siva going to hospital with his wife.【Photograph by Low Siew Lian】
Gobi (wearing tie) is an excellent student and is loved by his teachers.【Photograph by Low Siew Lian】 Gobi and his two siblings came to Tzu Chi Melaka with their mother for the Study Grant Presentation Ceremony.【Photograph by Lee Chin Seong】

Gobi (wearing tie) is an excellent student and is loved by his teachers.【Photograph by Low Siew Lian】

Gobi and his two siblings came to Tzu Chi Melaka with their mother for the Study Grant Presentation Ceremony.【Photograph by Lee Chin Seong】

 

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