Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

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Oct 23rd
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Home Our Missions Mission of Education How Can We Not Love Our Children?

How Can We Not Love Our Children?

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How Can We Not Love Our Children?
An incredible journey
Mandarin and Taiwanese
Children from heaven
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South African teachers and students boarded a plane in Johannesburg, South Africa, and flew across the Indian Ocean, over Madagascar and many little islands, and then changed planes in Hong Kong for Taiwan. "Going to Taiwan" had seemed quite unthinkable to them. This was the first time they had ever gone to Johannesburg, flown on a plane, left South Africa, seen the ocean, and visited Master Cheng Yen in person. These little children sang and danced and won our love. Even the teachers were shaken by what they witnessed. They promised that they would never stop teaching their children.

October meant the arrival of summer in South Africa in the Southern Hemisphere. At noon, the golden sunlight completely covered the land. People went about their business as usual, but in the town office of Ladysmith, Ngema Noxolo kept looking out of the window. The ten-year-old girl had curly hair, shiny black skin, and bright, attractive eyes.
This was her big day, because her father had promised to come and help her apply for her passport to Taiwan. She had no idea where Taiwan was, but she was quite clear that Tzu Chi was in Taiwan. The foundation had helped build a school with a roof and four walls in her hometown and had even given her books and pencils. She really wanted to go to Taiwan so she could see Master Cheng Yen and thank all the good Tzu Chi people who had given her so much.

Time kept ticking by and an hour passed, but her father still hadn't shown up. Her excitement was replaced by anxiety. Then she saw Buthelez Jabulani, her school principal. Ngema hugged the principal tightly and choked out through her tears, "I... I want to go to Taiwan..."

Seeing the tearful face in his embrace, Jabulani couldn't say a word. He understood the child's desire, because he himself had the same wish. Ngema's wish was simple, but Jabulani had experienced many things in his life and had much deeper expectations. "Ten years! It hasn't been easy to come this far." He couldn't control his emotion and tears filled his eyes.

Ten classrooms
Jabulani would never forget 1994, when Nelson Mandela won the presidential election and the blacks, who made up over 70 percent of the total population, finally achieved their own political rights. Apartheid finally disappeared into history.

Apartheid had divided South Africans into four classes: the whites were on the top, then the Asians, the colored, and finally the blacks. When Mandela became president, he smashed those racial divisions, and he also established new schools and new clinics. This was indeed a turning point for the country.

Jabulani was appointed to Amankamakazana CP School in a little village near Ladysmith in 1996. This was a school for Zulu children, but it had no classrooms. The word "Zulu" means "heaven," but Jabulani felt very strange as he viewed the barren plain.

To help their children receive an education, village residents had worked very hard to raise money out of their meager incomes to build this simple school. But sun, rain and wind had ravaged the school: the roof was gone and only two walls were left.

Jabulani pleaded with government officials for help, but their promises failed one after the other. Not even private donations could be found. The principal became so depressed that he wanted to be transferred elsewhere. "Even though we aren't discriminated against anymore, the social gaps that lasted for hundreds of years can't be changed right away," Jabulani said of the cruel reality.

The whole nation was waiting to be reborn after the elections. The government might have determination, but time was needed. The area around Ladysmith lacked any resources, so it was impossible to find prosperity in a short time.

Fortunately, God hadn't forgotten these children. A group of Tzu Chi volunteers came to them. They gave generously, and they also solicited money from local Chinese and Taiwanese businessmen. Finally, the children had a ten-classroom school with roofs and brick walls.

This was the first Tzu Chi school in South Africa. A few years later, six more elementary schools and a kindergarten were built. Now 2,700 Zulu children study in over 50 classrooms built by the foundation.

From disappointment to joy, from nothing to everything, Jabulani had a lot to ponder. He felt that he had seen the future because of Tzu Chi, and he wanted to know more about this organization. The closer he came to it, the more he came to love it.


 

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" To win the hearts of others and always be welcomed, we must be cautious of our tone of voice and facial expression. "
Jing-Si Aphorism