Tuesday, Jan 23rd

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 01 November 2015 16:01

Extending a Helping Hand to Needy Students

Written by  Kang Sin Fue, Yong Siew Lee & Loh Siew Chien, Melaka / Translated by Wong Mun Heng

On November 1, 2015, Tzu Chi Melaka held the annual Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme presentation ceremony. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]

Since the roll out of the Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme four years ago, volunteers and teachers have strived to unleash students’ potential; to motivate them to work harder to improve their studies and conduct.


 
On November 1, 2015, Tzu Chi Melaka held the annual Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme presentation ceremony. Thanks to the support and promotion by the various schools and volunteers, the number of students receiving the awards is on the rise since four years ago.
 
This year, there were 1,116 students eligible for various awards on Morality, Academic Excellence, Academic Progress, Overall Excellence and Filial Piety. A total of 1,027 students attended the ceremony in person, witnessed by their parents, teachers and school principals. 
 
Transportation to the venue was pre-arranged for students and parents who stay far away. A total of more than 2,000 people attended the day’s award ceremony.
 
Not difficult to discover talents
 
99% of the students from SJK(C) St Mary in Ayer Salak are Catholics. Their parents are mostly farmers from the lower income group, receive little education opportunities and quite lax in disciplining their children. The children were generally not interested in studies. After school, they frequently cycle and loiter around.
 
The school assistant headmistress, Goh Seng Hua had been cracking her head in getting study grants for the students to stimulate their interest in learning. On this day, in order to give peace of mind to the parents of different faith, she had accompanied eight students to the presentation ceremony.
 
She said that it was quite a challenge for the teachers to uncover the strength of the kids. The teachers used to complain “How to grant excellent award when their results are not good? Some are so lazy, how to grant good behaviour award?”
 
But, Seng Hua told the teachers that it was not really difficult. Look around, one would see kids willingly helping teachers to carry books. They may not be good in study but they are a helpful lot.
 
There is also a team of ten students who will willingly help the teachers to set things up, like plugging on the computer, installing the sound system, arranging the tables and chairs, etc. At the end of the year, they will be presented the “Service Excellence” award and the incentive is to let them go on an excursion.
 
Normally it is difficult for a weak student to get complimented on. However, to Seng Hua, getting complimented helps them to gain confidence. Zhang Jun Qiang is a Standard 5 student. Thanks to the counselling, encouragement and support by class teacher, Lin Xiu Lian, he has been very diligent in filling up the self-assessment booklet.
 
His mother also gives him lots of support. She even wrapped the booklet nicely and frequently used the booklet to guide him for further improvement. Thanks to the effort of his mother and teacher, Jun Qiang has improved a lot.
 
Timely study aid
 
Wang Ming is a Standard 4 student from SJK(C) St Mary. His father’s business in Johor failed. With support of relatives from Melaka, the family moved to Melaka and started to sell local delicacy for a living. His mother, Chai Siew Choo came to know of Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme and personally asked for assistance. Because of academic excellence, her child was presented the award.
 
Wang Ming is the school prefect and with his excellent results and leadership, he will be appointed as the head prefect of the school next year. His mother commented that since young, besides good in study, he has been helping her doing household chores and cooking.  Wang Ming admitted that the award meant a lot to him and said: “I will continue to work hard and hopefully win the award every year!”
 
Aslina Abu and husband brought their kid along for the presentation ceremony. Whenever they met Tzu Chi volunteers, they expressed sincere thanks to them. They have 11 children, the eldest being 17 and the youngest 3, with 8 still schooling. The whole family is dependent on the husband’s meagre income. When the new school term starts, each child would need about RM200 and this is a heavy burden for the family.
 
The younger children in the family do not understand the family’s financial situation well and often complain to the mother: Why can’t we eat better? Why can’t we have nice clothing? Why can’t we go on holiday? The mother had no answer to all these and merely told them to appreciate what they have as there are other families much worse off.
 
During their trying times, Tzu Chi came to their rescue. “I’m really grateful for the help rendered by Tzu Chi. I will try my best to repay.” Aslina, with tears in her eyes and a choking voice, expressed.
 
This year, four of her children received aid from Tzu Chi. Aslina said that this has helped reduce the miscellaneous expenses before school reopens. She told her children: “I don’t ask for more. I just hope you all will study well so that all of you can have a better future.”
 
Five years ago, Lu Yu Hua’s husband died after a heart attack. She was left to take care of her five daughters. During the home visit, volunteers found out that despite having a job as a cook and getting assistance from government, she still found it hard to make ends meet. Even so, Yu Hua kindly declined the subsidy from Tzu Chi and only requested for study aid to her children, to help her cope.
 
The study aid had greatly eased Yu Hua’s burden prior to new school term. When the second daughter, Lin Yu Fen and other sisters heard of the hardship faced by their mother, their tears just rolled down.They all hoped to improve the family’s conditions in future and let their mother live a good life.
 
“Thanks for the assistance. I know there are many in the society who also needed help. We are indeed lucky.” Yu Hua brought along the whole family’s savings box (bamboo bank) this round. “Although the amount may not be much, we hope this serves the purpose and it is a token for us to repay Tzu Chi.”
 
 
Regardless of race and religion, Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme is meant to lift children out of poverty through education. [Photograph by Lee Chin Seong]   Assistant headmistress of SJK(C) St Mary, Goh Seng Hua (left) had been thinking long and hard in getting study aid for the kids. [Photograph by Charlie Kam How Chan]

Regardless of race and religion, Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme is meant to lift children out of poverty through education. [Photograph by Lee Chin Seong]
 
Assistant headmistress of SJK(C) St Mary, Goh Seng Hua (left) had been thinking long and hard in getting study aid for the kids. [Photograph by Charlie Kam How Chan]
 
Wang Ming was given an award for his academic excellence. [Photograph by Tan Yen Pack]   The children were given cash vouchers to exchange for Jing Si products. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]

Wang Ming was given an award for his academic excellence. [Photograph by Tan Yen Pack]
 
 
The children were given cash vouchers to exchange for Jing Si products. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]
 
As expected, Lu Yu Hua’s four daughters received the study aid and this has relieved the family on expenses of the new school term. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]   As a form of repaying Tzu Chi, recipients of Tzu Chi Study &Award Scheme brought along their savings box (bamboo bank). [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

As expected, Lu Yu Hua’s four daughters received the study aid and this has relieved the family on expenses of the new school term. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
 
As a form of repaying Tzu Chi, recipients of Tzu Chi Study &Award Scheme brought along their savings box (bamboo bank). [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]