Receiving the Gifts of Love

On October 19, 2019, Tzu Chi Kota Tinggi volunteers organized a Tzu Chi Study & Awards Scheme presentation ceremony, where they also distributed Deepavali gift packs to the student beneficiaries, who come from Tamil schools.

With Deepavali fast approaching, Tzu Chi Kota Tinggi volunteers distributed study aid and Deepavali festive gift packs to underprivileged Indian families under Tzu Chi’s care on October 19, 2019.

Volunteers decorated the Tzu Chi premises with Deepavali decorations and banana leaves, and invited their Indian friends to make a “kolam” (a form of drawing using coloured powder) on the floor, fully demonstrating their respect for the Indian attendees.

Imparting wholesome values

This year, 30 students from three Tamil schools in Kota Tinggi received the study aid under Tzu Chi Study & Awards Scheme. Besides their families, five of their teachers also attended the event to share their joy.

As majority of the students are not well-versed in the Malay language, volunteers invited Teacher M. Vasanthi from SJK (T) Tajul, to explain the contents to the students in Tamil, alongside the emcee of the event. Teacher Vasanthi was moved upon learning from the video footages that Tzu Chi does not only give assistance to individuals in need, but also their whole family, so that they would be independent one day and be able to pass on the love they received.

Teacher Vasanthi conveyed the volunteer’s messages to the students in the Tamil language. [Photograph by Wong Kuan Fong]

Guided by Teacher Vasanthi, the students read aloud a Jing Si Aphorism, “There are two things in life that cannot wait – fulfilling filial duties and doing good deeds,” in Tamil. Thereafter, the students served their parents tea and offered them a warm embrace, leaving broad smiles on their parents’ faces.

“It touched me so much to see the children serving tea to their parents and kissing their feet.” Teacher Vasanthi was grateful that Tzu Chi had arranged the session which brought out the virtue of filial piety, as schools tend to place more emphasis on the delivery of knowledge, and not teaching their students to show appreciation to their parents. In addition, she also found the school transportation fee and meal subsidies provided by Tzu Chi have greatly helped the underprivileged families, allowing the students to study with peace of mind.

Affirmation for their efforts

Vanitha a/p Satthivelan came with her two children to receive the study aid. As her husband is unable to work, she needs to support her family’s livelihood and her children’s education fees single-handedly, with her meagre income. She was thankful to Tzu Chi for the school transportation and meal subsidies, which have eased her family’s financial burden.

She was beaming with joy when her children served her tea, as they normally do not do that at home.

A happy Vanitha when her son serves her tea respectfully. [Photograph by Wong Kuan Fong]

Another student beneficiary, Saran, attended the event with his mother. His efforts paid off with him receiving the Academic Progress Award. He performed an Indian dance together with a peer, and their skilful dance moves won them applause from the floor. His ambition is to become a firefighter because he admires their bravery after attending a fire prevention talk and fire drill organized by his school.

Saran’s effort was paid off with him granted the Academic Progress Award. [Photograph by Tsze Hut Sea]

His mother, Prema a/p Chandran, was thankful that her child received the study aid through his own efforts, and that saved her from worrying about her school fees for a new academic year. She was pleased to see her child’s initiatives in his studies and in his favourite dancing. She thanked Tzu Chi for the festive gift pack and meal served.

Stream of little kindness

“Giving is not the privilege of the rich, but those who are sincere.” Despite coming from humble families, many of the student beneficiaries brought along their coin banks and donated their savings. Evidently, the seeds of love and kindness are sprouting in their young minds.

Sri Lechumy a/p Rameswaren, a Primary 3 student, was glad to receive the Morality Award for the second time, thereby relieving her family’s financial burden. She donated her daily savings in her coin bank and remarked, “I’m very happy to be able to do good deeds!” At home, she would serve her parents drinks, and help them with house chores or talk to them upon completion of her school work.

Sri Lechumy donated her daily savings in her coin bank. [Photograph by Wong Kuan Fong]

Her grandmother, 64-year-old Parwaty a/p Krishna, was touched when the volunteers shared with her the true meaning of giving. She decided to become a Tzu Chi donor together with her granddaughter, to help others within their means. She said, “We received help from Tzu Chi when life was difficult, and now, we want to repay society and reciprocate the love we have received with our little capability.”

Contributing by means of cooking

On that day, volunteers also presented a Deepavali gift pack to each of the families. Amongst the food items in the gift packs was “muruku”, a crunchy Indian snack, prepared by Tzu Chi care recipient, Mangaiyakarasi a/p Subramaniam.

After her husband was sent to prison for a ten-year sentence, the family faced financial difficulties when her savings were depleted and she had to raise her five children single-handedly. Fortunately, she received monthly financial aid from Tzu Chi. Knowing that she has some skills in pastry-making, a volunteer sought her help to prepare the muruku, enabling her to contribute her love while at the same time, earn some extra income.

Another parent, Kudatya Kumar, who operates a school canteen, was also invited to contribute her efforts towards the event through her cooking. His whole family worked together to prepare various Indian cuisines for the attendees. He said, “Tzu Chi helped us. It’s my honour to be given the opportunity to prepare food for this event.” He hoped the attendees enjoyed the meals, for that was his way of reciprocating Tzu Chi’s kindness.

Mangaiyakarasi was thankful that she was able to contribute to the good cause by preparing “muruku” for the gift packs. [Photograph by Tsze Hut Sea]

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Transcending the borders of religion and ethnicity, the event saw everyone sharing some warm moments like a family. Love filled everyone’s heart as they performed the sign language interpretation of the song, “We Are Family”. Hopefully, the sincere companionship and support will dispel darkness in the hearts and keep the families positive as they move towards a better future.

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