About 25 kilometers after been on the highway, the scenery on the both sides of the highway was dotted with a tremendous amount of illegal buildings, slums, and collapsed buildings. There are fancy buildings on the other side of town where people lead affluent lives. The volunteers lamented over the strong contrasts as many of the sentient beings were suffering. They entered the corners of the slums after getting off the high way, and realized how blessed they are through seeing the hardships of others.
Two days a week, Mrs. Juana, the coordinator of Villa Lujan’s food pantry takes care of nearly a hundred helpless children who have nothing to eat and nobody to depend on. All the pantry expenses are collected through selling homemade bread and garbage collecting by Mrs. Juana and her family four days a week. Mrs. Juana came to know Tzu Chi since December 2005, her selfless devotion coincided with Tzu Chi, and since then, food has been provided by Tzu Chi for the pantry for almost 4 years now.
Vocational center for sewing established
Earlier in April, Tzu Chi volunteers have provided old clothes for Mrs. Juana. Due to many clothes don’t fit, she had asked for the possibility of altering the clothes for children and babies. A vocational center for sewing was established after much encouragement from Tzu Chi volunteers. Old clothes were altered into children's clothing and gave away as gifts to the poor children.
The sewing classroom is small with about 10 square meters of space with two old sewing machines, and a working table. Seven volunteers harmoniously cooperated with each other on their delegated work, two of them being in charge of sewing clothes, three dismantling the old clothing, and two others doing the cropping .
The quality was not as good as expected due to technical limitations on the old sewing machines, and instability of the sewing tools. However, the expectation was met because the clothes fit comfortably.
Mrs. Juana had been devoting herself with all her heart and energy while she is also diagnosed with gallstones. She dedicated every second of her life to give selflessly with love and mercy. Tzu Chi volunteers hope that the seed of love be plowed and that a positive cycle of love can enable the poverty-stricken locals to become self-reliant.
A proposal plan is set in place for the people who wish to be self-reliant. Mrs. Juana will assist in supporting the local activity center with the following functionalities: a cafeteria for the underprivileged children, school counseling services, a kitchen with an oven for making homemade bread, a vocational center for teaching job skills such as sewing, a recycling station, and a place to advertise Tzu Chi’s humanities education. In addition, counseling services will be provided to guide assist locals in environmental cleanliness, children’s education and employment for the adults.
Written and reported by: Chi-yi Chen, Shu-yu Chiu in Argentina
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