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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 06 March 2016 00:01

Happy Schooling Scheme Is On Again

Written by  Zhong Jing Xin & Low Hai Loon, Klang / Translated by Wong Mun Heng

With the launch of “Happy Schooling Scheme”, volunteers of Tzu Chi Klang, based on the list of names given, went door to door to visit the families concerned. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]

With the launch of “Happy Schooling Scheme”, volunteers of Tzu Chi Klang, based on the list of names given, went door to door to visit the families concerned. Hopefully, they can deliver the joy to students so that they will have better schooling and hence a brighter future.


Tzu Chi volunteers intend to expand the coverage of “Happy Schooling Scheme” so that more children from the low income families can concentrate on their studies without going hungry and having to worry about bus fares. At the same time, with the assistance of tuition, they will be able to achieve better academic results.

Once the volunteers received the name list from the primary and secondary schools under the “Happy Schooling Scheme”, it was immediately launched with home-visit activities in mid-February. Either after office hours or on weekends, volunteers would visit the families in order to better gauge the family backgrounds. This would decide their eligibility to receive aid from April onwards.

Volunteers from Tzu Chi Klang worked so hard that within one month, they managed to cover students from 70 primary and secondary schools along the coastal areas of Selangor, from Sekincan in the North to Banting in the South.

It was 10 am on a Sunday while many folks were still rousing from their slumber, Tzu Chi volunteers were already cheerfully knocking on the doors of the government built flats at Padang Jawa. Opening one of the doors was one resident, Gokilavani a/p Murgaya with two daughters, one in Primary 1 and the other in preschool, standing behind her.

After the volunteers introduced themselves, she opened the door to welcome them. Upon entering the house of this family of four, the volunteers noticed two sofa chairs and a small side table in front of the TV. There was a dining table in one corner where there were a few empty metal bowls and half a loaf of bread. Graffiti drawn by the two sisters on the pink-coloured walls helped to add character to an otherwise spartan living room. Plastic chairs were brought from the bedroom and once everyone was seated, the volunteers commenced the interview.

To end poverty through education

Gokilavani showed with her monthly statements that her income as a clerk was less than one thousand ringgit while her electrician husband did not have a stable income. Though the couple were working, half of their income were used to pay off earlier incurred debts with the balance hardly enough for house rental and living expenses. The family was practically living from hand to mouth.

Pointing to the portion of bread on the table, she said that that was the three meals for the whole family. Through the Q & A, the volunteers managed to gain more details to understand further the predicament of this family.

“To me, the most important thing for the kids is food and next is education,” Gokilavani said.  When the Primary 1 elder daughter found out that the visit by volunteers was related to educational aid, she quickly took out exercise books from her school bag to demonstrate her flawless reading ability. The so called school bag was actually a shoe bag. The younger sister also chipped in and said: “I can read too” and started reading aloud with her sister.

Gokilavani said because of financial constraint, she was unable to further her studies. With some part-time jobs, she managed to support herself to complete her Form 5 education. As she looked at her daughters, she further said: “In today’s environment, without proper education, they will have great difficulties in getting a job. That is why I hope they can receive proper education. As for me, I have suffered a lot and I would not want to see them following my footsteps.”

At this point, Gokilavani’s eyes turned teary. It was heart wrenching but she knew that this was her only hope for her next generation to have a chance of breaking out of their poverty cycle.

The best to repay is to study well

Kireetharan Kalitham’s family is no different from any other children’s family. He lives in a single storey house with his parents, two aunts and his siblings. On the wall in the living hall, one can see photos of three generations from the grandparents, parents and Kireetharan Kalitham.

In the kitchen, the view was quite different. There were many trophies and medals displayed in a cabinet. Apparently his grandfather and father used to be great footballers and the cabinet was in a way a showcase of their golden era.

Since young, Kireetharan Kalitham has been studying in a Chinese primary school and with fluent Mandarin, he acknowledged: “I’m not that great. I have only a few.” The combined income of his father, working as a taxi driver and his mother, a factory worker, was less than two thousand ringgit and this was hardly enough to support their five kids. His father, Kalihasan Rajoo, admitted that the burden was getting heavier by the day.

Kireetharan Kalitham, now in Form 4, said: “Sometimes when I wanted to get pocket money or school fees from my parents, I could see from their facial expression that things were tough.” No doubt he was sad, but Kireetharan Kalitham was determined to study harder so that he could get a better job later and with that he would be in a better position to take care of his parents. To him, that would be his best present for them.

When her five children wore their medals around their necks, Mogana a/l Chandra was seen smiling happily. All of them together with her parents and sibling were living in a three-room flat. She and her mother were the bread winners and their combined meagre income was used to support their family of ten. This was hardly enough to cover living expenses.

Luckily, the three daughters who attend tuition every week have their study expenses taken care of. When the volunteers stepped inside the house, Kesavan, the younger son who was applying for the tuition grant, and elder sister, quickly took out their school work and showed their progress to the volunteers.

Other than improvement in their studies, the mother also discovered that the volunteers had taught her children to be contented and grateful. They learnt good manners and were well behaved at home. With this change, she felt there is hope for a better future.



For this Happy Schooling Scheme, Tzu Chi Klang volunteers visited altogether 1,683 families from February 15 to March 20. Although not every family met the requirements for assistance, many would have realized that there are folks out there who do care especially for the education of the children. Hopefully this will give them a sense of comfort that help is available when needed. Those who are now under the scheme will hopefully be inspired to reach out for a better future.

 

Indian and Chinese volunteers went to flats at Padang Jawa, Klang to hand the forms to qualified applicants. [Photograph by Tang Chee Onn]   Mogana (in pink) admitted the study grant from Tzu Chi would definitely lessen her burden in giving proper education to her kids. [Photograph by Tang Chee Onn]

Indian and Chinese volunteers went to flats at Padang Jawa, Klang to hand the forms to qualified applicants. [Photograph by Tang Chee Onn]
 
Mogana (in pink) admitted the study grant from Tzu Chi would definitely lessen her burden in giving proper education to her kids. [Photograph by Tang Chee Onn]
 
Volunteers of Tzu Chi Klang visited 1,683 families from February 15 to March 20; bringing much hope to school students. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]   Indian volunteer Thiru perusing exercise books of applicant and giving advice accordingly. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]

Volunteers of Tzu Chi Klang visited 1,683 families from February 15 to March 20; bringing much hope to school students. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
 
Indian volunteer Thiru perusing exercise books of applicant and giving advice accordingly. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
Gokilavani knew that the future depends on education and therefore she wanted her children to have proper education despite all the hardships. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]   No doubt he was sad about the dilemma, but applicant Kireetharan Kalitham was determined to study hard so that he could get a better job later and with that he would be in a better position to take care of his parents. [Photograph by Tai Fuey Tat]

Gokilavani knew that the future depends on education and therefore she wanted her children to have proper education despite all the hardships. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
 
No doubt he was sad about the dilemma, but applicant Kireetharan Kalitham was determined to study hard so that he could get a better job later and with that he would be in a better position to take care of his parents. [Photograph by Tai Fuey Tat]