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Home Visits Training, Sharing and Learning

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318 Tzu Chi volunteers capitalized on the Hari Raya Haji public holiday on 17 Nov to attend a training on home visit at Jing Si Hall. With a title of “Resonance of Benevolence”, the training encouraged sharing of personal experiences and hoped that new volunteers who just joined the ranks would learn as much as possible from the training.


North Zone home visit volunteer Ang Leck Kang is grateful to his fellow volunteers for their company, making it possible for him to take up the home visitation responsibilities in his zone. (Photo: Zheng Pei Shan)


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Capitalizing on the Hari Raya Haji holiday, volunteers congregated at Jing Si Hall to attend the training on home visits know-how. (Photo: Zheng Pei Shan)
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Brother Ong Wee Heng, who has long term interaction with AIDS patients, explaining the cause of AIDS and how it is transmitted. He also shares with the trainees his experience of interacting with the patients. (Photo: Tan Paik Hui)
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Trainees are engrossed with the sharing sessions and are busy taking notes to be used as reference in future home visits. (Photo: Tan Paik Hui)
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Brother David Liu encourages the trainees to exercise both compassion and wisdom while doing charity work, and to be flexible enough and forget about one’s own social status so as to learn humbly from one another. (Photo: Tan Paik Hui)

The origin of Tzu Chi is rooted in charity work. Through philanthropic activities, the rich is inspired to help the poor and the poor is encouraged to spread their kindness when they gained their footing.

On 17 Nov, 318 Tzu Chi volunteers capitalized on the Hari Raya Haji holiday to learn about home visits know-how at Jing Si Hall. With a title of “Resonance of Benevolence”, the training encouraged sharing of personal experiences and hoped that new volunteers who just joined the rank would learn as much as possible from the training.

AIDS patients’ medical bill and subsistence allowances are among the expenses sponsored by Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore Branch). During the sharing session, home visit volunteer Brother Ong Wee Heng, who is very experienced in interacting with AIDS care recipients, explained the cause of AIDS and how it was transmitted.

He also shared with the trainees his interactions with the patients: “You don’t have to be scared when facing them, but to care for them and listen to them attentively, encouraging them to come forward and be part of the society, and face the challenges of life bravely.”

While giving the patients their peace of mind and a hope for the future by keeping them company, the volunteers themselves are also inspired to be empathetic and compassionate.

Sister Jennifer Tan cited a few case studies for sharing, and encouraged the trainees with the Four Immeasurable of Buddhism, namely Kindness, Compassion, Joy, and Giving.

“As home visit volunteers, we must possess a heart of gratitude, respect and love when helping the unfortunate; we have to be grateful to them for giving us an opportunity to learn and to exercise our wisdom in resolving problems.”

Sister Tan also urged all to stay united and committed in doing Tzu Chi’s charity work, as “all of us come from the same big family of Tzu Chi, and we are all enjoying a very precious affinity among ourselves.” She ended her sharing with calling a Tzu Chi song (which in Chinese, the title means “Life after Life in Bodhicitta”) sing-along whereby everyone sang to their inspiration to help the needy and to move forward in their endeavour steadily.

Brother Alex Tan from the East Zone too mentioned during the sharing session that through home visits, he has learnt to be more caring, empathetic and grateful.

Brother Tan has been a Home Visit Team cadre since 2009 and is mostly responsible for writing reports for the visits. Through report writing, the young volunteer who is doing his PhD in the National University of Singapore has found that he has to improve himself further. He shared with the trainees that one has to keep adjusting and adapting oneself during home visitation, for he should not use his own standards to judge those at the receiving end but instead to learn from their predicament with empathy.

“Participating in home visits has taught me how to feel contented, and to be grateful that I have a healthy body that allows me to do voluntary work.” Sister Tee Chwee Yueh from the South Zone shared with the rest.

The young volunteer recalled that during her first home visit, she came across an AIDS patient who was homebound and uncommunicative. However, after the volunteers had spent a long time with him, he started to develop trust in the volunteers and was willing to open his heart to them.

“One has to exercise compassion with wisdom, and to execute tasks with sound judgement.” Brother Ang Leck Kang from the North Zone is grateful to his fellow volunteers for their company, making it possible for him to take up the home visitation responsibilities in his zone.

Brother Ang affirmed that he has found the meaning of his life through home visits and further recounted his encounter with an AIDS patient who was also suffering from cancer. The patient had been born on the same day in the same year as him. This really amazed him profoundly. “Looking at him, I asked myself what would it be like if I were him? I am grateful that I have joined Tzu Chi and it has enriched my life.”

Although the patient passed away eventually, the volunteers were with him till the end of his life and even helped fulfill his wish.

Towards the end of the training session, the trainees participated actively in the Q&A session, with Brother David Liu, the CEO of Tzu Chi Singapore, answering each of the queries earnestly. Brother Liu stressed that being soft and fair is the most basic quality of compassion. He encouraged the trainees to imbue compassion with wisdom while doing charity work, and to be flexible enough and forget about one’s own social status so as to learn humbly from one another.

Indeed, there is always a story behind every needy household, and through the case studies one is often reminded about how blessed one is. The care recipients’ life stories are a form of education to each of the home visit team, and the biggest achievement for the home visit volunteers is that they have learnt about life and grown spiritually.



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