Mee Toh School is the first school Tzu Chi's Great Love Mothers got affiliated with since the team's formation in 2008. The team provides moral extracurricular programme for the school's Primary 1 and 2 pupils on every Wednesday afternoon.
Ever since the Japan disaster struck , the team has been leading the pupils in prayer for the peace and safety of the Japanese during their weekly extracurricular activities. Identifying with the significance of mass prayer, Mr Gau Poh Teck, the school’s principal, decided to bring it further and extend the activity to the entire school alongside a schoolwide fundraiser on 13 Apr.
Though they had only five days to make preparation for the 15-minutes allotted to them, the Great Love Mothers decided to go all out for it knowing that the opportunity to expose the young to the happenings of the world do not come by easily. Led by their leader, they divided themselves into groups compiling photos and videos as well as making donation boxes for the school. Brother David Liu, the CEO of Tzu Chi Singapore, too relayed his support for the team from Taiwan, where he was attending the Tzu Chi Entrepreneurs' Camp.
In the morning of 13 Apr at the school assembly, the movie-like disaster footages coupled with images of people suffering after the disasters sparked much discussion among the stirred pupils. The Great Love Mothers then showed pictures of Tzu Chi volunteers fundraising on the streets as well as the Tzu Chi relief team comforting the Japanese victims to show the pupils that although disasters tend to cause destruction and suffering, people in safety may still respond with love and compassion.
Right away the Great Love Mothers led the assembly to pray for the victims and prompted several "What can we do in our everyday life besides praying and donating?" questions for all to contemplate.
At the afternoon assembly at 1.15 pm, in the company of the Principal and teachers, the Great Love Mothers led the Primary 1 and 2 pupils in praying for Japan. Even those who were normally playful became serious and focused when they prayed. The sincere and serious look on their faces moved many. The Great Love Mothers were convinced that inspiring empathy for others among the young as early as possible was the right thing to do.
After the praying session, the Great Love Mothers visited the classes with the donation box to canvass donations from the pupils. The teachers were very accommodating and stopped their lessons when the Great Love Mothers visited their classes; several dropped their donations into the donation box respectfully, setting a good example for the pupils to follow.
Under the guidance of the Great Love Mothers, the pupils also made kind wishes when they donated their money; some wished the Japanese to rebuild their home soon, some sent their moral support to the Japanese, and some hoped that earthquake and tsunami will never happen again.
They were really practising what they had learned from the Great Love Mothers all along: To utter kind words, to harbour kind thoughts and to do kind deeds!
The event also received overwhelming response from the parents, who had their children present their donations for them. A total cash donation of S$7812.30 and ¥50,000 was collected on that day, and all would be handed to the Singapore Red Cross Society through the Ministry of Education.
While giving his thanks to Tzu Chi and the Great Love Mothers, Mr Gau said earnestly, “I believe that everyone is kind by nature. We arranged for the fundraiser to create a platform for the children to learn to give and help, so that each of them is given an opportunity to have loving kindness inspired in his or her young heart. We believe if a disaster hits one place on Earth, the other countries will be affected too. Being a part of the Earth system, we are obliged to do our part."
As the fundraiser was just a one-off event, a greater hope of the Great Love Mothers is that the teachers continue to teach the pupils the lesson of life. The Great Love Mothers cherish very much their opportunity to cultivate the young; only through hard work will they see their efforts come to fruition, and may the loving kindness in the children grow stronger with time.