“Now, I need everyone to figure out how to build the tallest and most stable building using the cardboard, newspapers, bottles, tape, stapler, and whatever materials you can find here,” said the host of the Seeds of Hope (SOH) Welcome Ceremony 2018.
As soon as the host finished explaining the game rules, the students and their parents entered into game mode and started constructing the tallest “building” the best they could.
The SOH Welcome Ceremony was held by Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) on 7 April 2018 in the Jing Si Hall. Through the interactive game and sharing from other SOH beneficiaries, the application procedures and assessment method for the SOH bursary and meritorious awards were made clear to the 110 student recipients and their families who attended the event. Tzu Chi volunteers also distributed the bursary payments for the month of April to the students during the ceremony.
The main objective of the interactive game was to bring the students and their parents closer to each other and to help the former understand that a positive learning attitude is imperative throughout their school life. They also learned that a solid foundation in education is necessary for a person to achieve greater heights in life, just like how a solid foundation is essential to keep a building stable.
Madam Wu’s daughter, Ning, is one of the bursary recipients this year. During the game session, Madam Wu realised the importance of teamwork and the ability to adapt to sudden changes so as not to be defeated by the obstacles that arose along the way.
Wu’s husband suffered from aneurysm rupture and his brain deteriorated severely after surgery, causing him to become visually impaired. Tzu Chi Singapore has been supplying adult diapers and nutritional milk, as well as providing TCM acupuncture treatment to him, and he is currently in the process of recovery. The care and support from Tzu Chi volunteers gave the couple peace of mind and Madam Wu said that she hoped to be able to lend a helping hand to others in need in the future.
Raghupathy was one of the SOH beneficiaries in 2017. The quiet and obedient teenager lives with his parents, elder sister and grandmother. His mother is never worried about him except for his studies, especially the Tamil subject. Ragupathy received the SOH bursary in 2017, and he made use of the aid money to pay for his tuition fees. He also cut down on his gaming time and focused on his studies. After working hard for a year, Ragupathy showed significant improvement in his Tamil and Mathematics results.
Besides, Ragupathy and his father often volunteer on the monthly Tzu Chi Recycling Day under the guidance and companionship of Tzu Chi volunteers. Ragupathy’s father supports the environmental concept of Tzu Chi after participating in a street clean-up activity. Ragupathy’s mother is very thankful to Tzu Chi for the help it has given to her family, and also supports the Foundation’s “Save for a Good Cause” campaign by donating SGD 30 each month to its Charity Fund. After having found a job recently, Ragupathy’s mother no longer applies for the bursary from Tzu Chi as she hopes that the money could be used to help others who need it more than her son.
Another two bursary recipients who shared their stories on stage were a pair of sisters, Angela and Rachel. The elder sister, Angela, excels in tennis, and she is also the team leader for her school’s tennis team. Angela was the only student who was accolated with three SOH meritorious awards in 2017, namely the Special Talent Award, Good Progress Award and Filial Piety Award. Angela shared that the SOH programme not only helped reduce her father’s financial burden, it also allowed her to study with a peace of mind.
Angela’s sister, Rachel often volunteers at the Tzu Chi recycling point, where she learns how to sort recyclables. She also saves spare coins into a Tzu Chi Bamboo Coin Bank at home to donate to the Charity Fund, as a way to give back to society.
“Although the money I put inside the coin bank isn’t much, it can still be used to help others in need,” said Rachel.
Although their mother, who was formerly a Tzu Chi aid recipient, has passed on, Tzu Chi volunteers continued to give help and support to the sisters.
The SOH ceremony 2018 ended on a heart-warming note. Tzu Chi hopes that the SOH Programme would accompany the students on their path of learning and encourage them to unleash their potentials along the way, so that they may give back to society in action in the future.