Now a year had passed, and Father Joseph began to worry that the school might have to close down if his church discontinued their support for the school. He and the schoolteachers therefore decided to seek help from Tzu Chi.
Upon receiving Fr. Joseph’s request, Tzu Chi volunteers visited the school—a room of a little over a thousand square feet in area, partitioned into two sections by a curtain. One side was for children between five and seven years old, and the other for children between eight and fourteen. Equipped with old desks and chairs, a TV set, a blackboard, and two computers, the school seated a total of 120 children. The students had to share textbooks and school supplies. Each student had only one notebook in which to do their homework for four subjects.
Despite their difficult conditions, the students learned diligently from their teachers. The volunteers’ hearts went out to the children, and they decided to provide them with school supplies.
On July 20, 2009, 15 volunteers arrived at the school with gift packs of school supplies. All the children stared with wide eyes. “Are they all new? Are they for us? Each of us will get a set?” The children smiled happily when they got their own packs of school supplies. They immediately opened them, and some even kissed theirs out of joy.
One of the students, 14-year-old Nancy, told the volunteers her story. Her parents had died a year before. With help from their relatives, she and her younger sister came to Kuala Lumpur. Back home Nancy had loved studying very much, but after her parents died she had to drop out of school. She was brokenhearted, thinking that she would never be able to go to school anymore. Therefore, she was really happy that she could study for free in Malaysia and even get free lunches to eat. The school only gave students plain noodles or rice with curry sauce, but that was often their best meal of the day.
Nancy said that after she grew up, she wanted to become a teacher and help other needy children receive an education.
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