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Saturday, 19 November 2016 00:00

Spreading Great Love through Tzu Chi Study Grant

Written by  Kee Wen Ling, Bintulu / Translated by Ong Mooi Lin


Tzu Chi Study Grant is like a timely rain during drought, calming the students’ mind on their studies, as well as easing the parents’ financial burdens. [Photograph by Edmond Khaw Jeun Shian]

“I have not changed my school uniform since Form 1 because (my family has) no extra money for it. I am going to utilize the study grant from Tzu Chi for my school uniform, stationery, and other school supplies,” Jackline Rangkong expressed delightfully at the Tzu Chi Study Grant Presentation Ceremony held at Bintulu, Sarawak.


On November 13, 2016, Tzu Chi Study Grant Presentation Ceremony, organized by Tzu Chi Bintulu, was held at the SJK(C) Siong Boon. Since August this year, Tzu Chi volunteers have been visiting schools to introduce Tzu Chi Study Grant and its mechanism to the school authorities. Thus far, they had conducted home visits to 977 applicants.

The study grant recipients this year are from one secondary school and seven primary schools, of which, students from two of the primary schools are also granted subsidies for school transportation expenses under the Happy Schooling Scheme. Among the 605 recipients, 62 are children of Tzu Chi’s care recipients.

As 38 students were unable to attend the Presentation Ceremony on November 13, volunteers decided to hold another small-scale Presentation Ceremony for them on November 19, at the Tzu Chi Bintulu Liaison Office. While the volunteers gave away the study grant with sincerity and love, the students received it with gratitude in their hearts. Witnessing such warmth and touching moments from the audience seats, the parents beamed with hope that the study grant would ease their children’s schooling path.

Filial piety despite life’s adversity

Jackline, a Form 3 student from SMK Asyakirin, shared her sorrowful story with the volunteers: “My father passed away due to illness when I was at Primary 6, and my mother had a stroke after my father’s demise. My sister chose to leave home at that difficult time, abandoning my mother and me.”

Encountering such awful incidents when she was just in her teens, Jackline pulled herself together and decided to work part-time to support her studies. During weekends, she would help out at a pastry stall for a daily wage of RM20. Every morning before leaving for school, she would prepare her mother’s breakfast, and after school she would rush home to get lunch for her mother.

Jackline turned emotional and sobbed while sharing her difficult life experiences on stage. She extended her gratitude to Tzu Chi for giving her the best support when she was helpless. Many parents in the audience were moved to tears hearing her story.

While carrying out home visit, volunteers witnessed the hardship of Jackline’s family and felt sorry for them. Feeling the volunteers’ concern, Jackline’s mother could not help but shed tears. After assessment and consideration, it was decided that Jackline’s family would be accepted as a Tzu Chi care recipient with monthly material aid besides the study grant, to reduce Jackline’s financial burden.

Despite adversity in life, a lovely and sensible Jackline has remained optimistic and progressed positively. She is able to strike a balance between caring attentively for her sick mother and coping with her schoolwork. She continues to maintain her results within the top five achievers every semester.

During the Presentation Ceremony, a video was played to allow the students and parents to gain a better understanding of Tzu Chi. Many parents were touched and decided to be donors to help others. Among them was Norashina Abdullah, whose daughter received the study grant for the first time. Overjoyed and touched, she translated her gratitude into action by becoming a Tzu Chi donor right there and then.

Norashina is a single mother, who brings up four children by herself after divorcing her husband. Her three daughters are very good academically, and this is evident from the many medals and trophies displayed in their home. Two of her daughters are in university now, while the third one had expressed her wish to pursue tertiary education and become a teacher. Norashina promised to use the grant received wisely for her daughter’s schooling necessities in the new school term.

Expressed gratitude through donation

Parent Woo Ming Chian, who attended the second Presentation Ceremony, was impressed with Tzu Chi’s contributions to society. He said, “What Tzu Chi is doing are excellent. I would like to help out if there is any opportunity. I want to learn to do good things because that will bring me happiness.”

Due to work commitments, Ming Chian’s wife and a child are living in Miri while Ming Chian and another child are living with his elder sister in Bintulu. As Ming Chian’s salary is meagre, his sister is providing them with free accommodation. Ming Chian reciprocates by helping his sister in household chores and preparing their meals.

Ming Chian was ready to attend the first Presentation Ceremony but he could not make it due to an emergency call from his wife, informing him that his child was ill. His son is a beneficiary of the Happy Schooling Scheme. He was deeply moved by the volunteers’ caring attitude throughout the process starting from the home visit to the Presentation Ceremony. Thus, he seized the opportunity to learn more about Tzu Chi and shared with the other parents who attended the Presentation Ceremony about Tzu Chi’s charitable work.

“I acquired a bamboo bank from a Tzu Chi volunteer and would save some coins in it every day. I also requested my son to do the same,” shared Ming Chian, who not only saves money daily to help others, but also contributes his effort in recycling by collecting and transporting the recyclables to the recycling centre.

The Chairman of PPR Bandaria Park flat, Mohammad Iswandi, was also invited to the Presentation Ceremony. He learnt about Tzu Chi when volunteers carried out home visits to the grant applicants at the residential area. Through volunteers’ explanations during the home visit, he has gained a deeper understanding of Tzu Chi’s missions. After the Presentation Ceremony, Mohammad Iswandi sent this short message to the volunteers: “This organization is the best!”

He shared, “I am touched watching the students receiving the study grant on stage. Tzu Chi’s Great Love spirit has evoked the feeling of gratitude in me.” He witnessed through the Presentation Ceremony, the genuineness, kindness and beauty of Tzu Chi, and he also complimented Tzu Chi’s Great Love regardless of religion, nationality and ethnicity.

Aware of the limitation of an individual’s effort, a kind-hearted Mohammad Iswandi expressed his wish to cooperate with Tzu Chi to reach out to more underprivileged people. He remarked, “Tzu Chi volunteers are experienced in handling cases of needy people. They are able to tackle the problems faced by needy families and provide them with the most appropriate assistance and care for their living conditions.”

Give regardless of religious differences

Twenty-nine-year-old Yeo Chee Ting participated in a Tzu Chi activity for the first time. She planned to have breakfast with her family initially, but changed her mind later to participate in this event instead, as she felt she would be able to help others this way. On that day, Chee Ting was assigned the role of an usherette. She said, “Our society is getting more and more uncaring and detached. Thinking that it is a chance for me to do good, I just do what I can to contribute. It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Chee Ting, a Christian, learnt about Tzu Chi through Da Ai TV channel, and has been practising recycling at home. It did not bother her that Tzu Chi is a Buddhist organization. She said firmly, “I like Tzu Chi for its spirit of love that transcends religion and race. I am a Christian and I hold no discrimination of religious differences, for goodness is the foundation of all religions.”

As an usherette, it was inevitable for Chee Ting to move around frequently, ushering the students in the hall from time to time. As a result, her ankles started to blister. Despite other volunteers’ advice to take some rest, she insisted, “It’s alright, I can still manage.”

As it was a meaningful experience for her, Chee Ting continued serving and moving around instead of feeling sorry for herself. Witnessing the many underprivileged and needy people benefitting from this, she was happy and forgot about her aching feet. Her selfless contribution touched the volunteers deeply.

A noble act of reciprocating

Volunteer Chia Shuck Ping said that it is a rare and great affinity for him to join Tzu Chi, as he has the opportunity to help others and cultivate gratefulness. With diligent attitude, he did not miss out in any part of the process from the initial home visits to the Presentation Ceremony. His is leading a fulfilling life because of Tzu Chi and he has gained much Dharma knowledge too.

Ucy Anak Rima, a public member, accepted volunteers’ invitation to contribute her effort at the registration counter for both sessions of the Presentation Ceremony. Among the students and parents who came to register for the ceremonies, she met her former classmates. At that instant, she felt she was a blessed person.

At the first session, she had to leave in a hurry after the closing of the registration counter due to her commitment at home; and she regretted that she was unable to witness the first Presentation Ceremony. She did, however, attend the second session and stayed from the beginning at the registration counter until the end of the ceremony.

She shared, “I am grateful to my husband for supporting my effort in helping out. I am a Catholic but I feel there is no distinction in religions where doing good deeds is concerned. It is an honour to be able to help others, and I wish I am eligible to wear the Tzu Chi cheongsam (formal uniform for Tzu Chi Commissioners) one day.” Ucy voluntarily signed up as a Tzu Chi monthly donor and added that she would also encourage her husband to be a donor next month.



Students are the seeds of hope. With sincere blessings from Tzu Chi volunteers, it is hoped that these seeds would sprout and grow strongly, withstand the hardships in life and turn out to be big trees that are able to contribute to society one day.

 

On November 13, 2016, Tzu Chi Bintulu organized the Tzu Chi Study Grant Presentation Ceremony at SJK(C) Siong Boon. [Photograph by Edmond Khaw Jeun Shian]   This year, Tzu Chi Study Grant has benefitted 605 students. The eligible students are seen here attending the Presentation Ceremony in neat school uniforms. [Photograph by Edmond Khaw Jeun Shian]

On November 13, 2016, Tzu Chi Bintulu organized the Tzu Chi Study Grant Presentation Ceremony at SJK(C) Siong Boon. [Photograph by Edmond Khaw Jeun Shian]
 
This year, Tzu Chi Study Grant has benefitted 605 students. The eligible students are seen here attending the Presentation Ceremony in neat school uniforms. [Photograph by Edmond Khaw Jeun Shian]
 
Jackline (centre) is grateful to Tzu Chi for the study grant and promised to use the money wisely. [Photograph by Edmond Khaw Jeun Shian]   Norashina Abdullah (centre), whose daughter received the study grant for the first time, was very happy and grateful. [Photograph by Kee Wen Ling]

Jackline (centre) is grateful to Tzu Chi for the study grant and promised to use the money wisely. [Photograph by Edmond Khaw Jeun Shian]
 
 
Norashina Abdullah (centre), whose daughter received the study grant for the first time, was very happy and grateful. [Photograph by Kee Wen Ling]
 

Chairman of the PPR Bandaria Park flat, Mohammad Iswandi, commended Tzu Chi volunteers for their efforts and contributions through mobile messaging after the Presentation Ceremony. [Photograph by Kee Wen Ling]   Participating in a Tzu Chi activity for the first time, Yeo Chee Ting, a Christian, concurred with Tzu Chi’s Great Love spirit of selfless giving. [Photograph by Edmond Khaw Jeun Shian]

Chairman of the PPR Bandaria Park flat, Mohammad Iswandi, commended Tzu Chi volunteers for their efforts and contributions through mobile messaging after the Presentation Ceremony. [Photograph by Kee Wen Ling]
 
 
Participating in a Tzu Chi activity for the first time, Yeo Chee Ting, a Christian, concurred with Tzu Chi’s Great Love spirit of selfless giving. [Photograph by Edmond Khaw Jeun Shian]
 
Ucy (centre), a Christian, expressed her will to become a Tzu Chi monthly donor after participating at the event. [Photograph by Kee Wen Ling]  

Ucy (centre), a Christian, expressed her will to become a Tzu Chi monthly donor after participating at the event. [Photograph by Kee Wen Ling]