Tzu Chi is a volunteer organization with a mission to give aid and caring assistance to local community organizations. Since its founding, the organization has dedicated itself to the fields of medicine, education, and environmental protection, while promoting spiritual human values and community volunteerism. The humanitarian work is both a means to help those in need, and also a way to open the eyes of the volunteers to the harsher side of life, so that through giving assistance to others they may find happiness and a deeper meaning to life.
In Malaysia, Tzu Chi has established recycling groups in many Kuala Lumpur communities. This outreach program, called "Gardeners of the Earth," has been actively promoting recycling and environmental protection with the hope of educating the public on the importance of preserving the environment and the earth’s precious resources for future generations.
Students at the Nexus Boarding House in Putrajaya are assisting the Tzu Chi community recycling centre in Seri Kembangan by sorting and separating paper, plastic, aluminum cans and wire. Not only are they sorting community waste, they are also collecting, sorting and transporting their own recyclable materials to the centre. Deposit sites have been set up throughout the school to collect this material for recycling.
Lisa Smith, who heads up this effort at Nexus International School, shares that, “The students benefit by becoming more environmentally aware about the products and packaging they buy. They also learn that their efforts, combined with the efforts of others in the community, can make a difference in the quality of life for all. There is also an opportunity to recognize and celebrate cultural diversity through connecting with local volunteers from the community.”
“The funds raised from the sale of the recyclable materials Nexus students help to sort, feeds into the local education fund to support transportation, food, book fees, uniforms and shoes for disadvantaged children within the community., The community volunteers bring stories and homemade vegetarian food to share with everyone. It’s hard work but very enlightening and rewarding for all involved.” As more recycling collection points are set up in the communities, the concept of environmental protection and the preservation of valuable resources has been gaining increasing acceptance by both students and community members. Those interested in helping are encouraged to contact either Nexus or Tzu Chi directly using the contact information provided above.
Written by Stephen Wise