Every student has his or her own dreams and aspirations that they want to realize. But realizing these visions is quite difficult with poor eyesight.
Grade-8 student Marian Velitario and Grade-11 student David Ferry experience bullying sometimes because of their poor vision. Velitario squints, while Ferry struggles with nearsightedness.
“I experience bullying from my classmates, they call me boy with blurry eyes and they will make fun of me,” says Ferry. “My classmates notice that both of my eyes are looking on different directions. They call me squint girl. When I tell this to my mother, she cries because she is not aware of what I’m going through,” Velitario narrates.
Both have difficulty reading what’s written on the board. Sometimes, they mistake friends and contacts for someone else. When Tzu Chi Foundation arrived bearing the gift of clearer eyesight, they hope to be able to avoid such inconveniences and prepare for the future better.
“Now that I have better eyesight, I can now read clearly, and I can see every person that will greet me. It will be a great help to my study, it will also help me to land a good job in the near future” says Velitario.
“I believe that Tzu Chi Foundation does not only give us eyeglasses but they also give us hope. Hope to see the bright future ahead of us,” adds Ferry.
Tzu Chi, on July 23, conducted its 226th Medical Mission at the Sisters of Mary Girlstown Complex in Silang, Cavite. Catering to 2,149 students and staff members from the Girlstown and Boystown schools, the mission offered free consultations and treatment in dentistry, ENT (ears, nose, and throat), pediatrics, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), dermatology, and ophthalmology
A total of 719 students and teachers had their eyes checked, of which 524 were advised to wear eyeglasses. On August 21, Tzu Chi volunteers returned to deliver the pairs, fulfilling their promise.
For Sis. Gevalyn Marfa, her eyeglasses are a big help especially when teaching.
“I am a teacher of Catechism and I experience few problems due to my poor eyesight. Before, it’s hard for me to see the children who sit at the back part of the room. I am also experiencing severe headache that makes me feel irritated, that is why I easily get mad when my students are noisy,” says Marfa.
Postulant (candidate for becoming a nun) Camila Aviles, who aids teachers in classroom instruction, says that the blessing she received from Tzu Chi will make her more efficient at work. She calls the eyeglass her tool to help more people and expresses her gratitude to the Buddhist organization.
“I would like to say thank you on behalf also of the children who received these graces, which came from you freely. To be honest, we don’t have the capability to provide eyeglasses for our students. This is such a big privilege for us. Thank you!” says Aviles.
Appreciation of hard work
The students of Sisters of Mary reside in the respective dormitories inside the campus. As their families can only visit them once a year, they feel happy whenever they have guests.
Tzu Chi, however, is no ordinary guest, but rather a blessing from above to help the students make their lives better. For that matter, some thought of a good way to give back to Tzu Chi: a letter for the volunteers and Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) volunteer doctors.
“When we found out that Tzu Chi Foundation will visit us again, my friends and I decided to make a letter for the volunteers and for the doctors. This is our way of showing our utmost gratitude for their time, love, care, and service that they have given to us,” says April Kwin Lecetivo, a nearsighted Grade-11 student who benefitted from Tzu Chi’s eyeglasses.
TIMA ophthalmologist Adriene Elizabeth Lim appreciates the sweet gesture of the students. According to her, it inspires her to help the needy because she knows that people appreciate her deeds.
“I feel very, very happy and proud and amazed because of their creativity. You can see in the artwork that they did it meticulously. And they are very gifted in writing,” remarks Lim.
Sis. Eva Aringo, Boystown principal, also utters her word of thanks for the Buddhist organization.
“On behalf of the Sisters of Mary family, we want to say thank you very much to Tzu Chi Foundation. That one really is a very big help for the students. Our students come from the poorest of the poor while the school doesn’t have the capability to provide eyeglasses for all of them,” says Aringo.
She also emphasizes the positive outcome brought by the eyeglasses to the students. While small, the eyeglasses will bring wonders to the life of every recipient.
“Because of that, they will be able to focus more in school. They can see the writings on the board and I’m very sure that the performance of the students will really be very good,” she adds.
Before the distribution of eyeglasses, TIMA ophthalmologist Adriene Elizabeth Lim gives a brief discussion on how the students should use and clean their eyeglasses.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
A Tzu Chi volunteer gently gives the pair of eyeglass to the student of the Sisters of Mary Boystown.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz 】
The students also receive a case and a polishing cloth for their eyeglasses.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Marian Velitario is a picture of happiness while wearing her new eyeglass.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Once suffering from nearsightedness,David Ferry can now read without shoving the book close to his face.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
A Tzu Chi nurse helps Dr. Limadjust the eyeglasses for the students.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
The nuns of the Sisters of Mary, who thought that the eyeglasses were only for the students, couldn’t hide their happiness when they received their own eyeglass.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Sisters of Mary staff members prepare a vegetarian buffet lunch for Tzu Chi volunteers and TIMA doctors.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
After the eyeglasses distribution, Tzu Chi volunteers receive Thank You cards made by the students of Sisters of Mary.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
These are the cards that thestudents meticulously made for Tzu Chi volunteers. Some of these are hand-painted by the students, showing the effort and time that they dedicated to come up with these beautiful cards.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Juancho Ponti, a grade-11 student, personally gives his letter to Dr. Adriene Lim at the end of the program. Ponti says that he is touched by the care and sweetness that Dr. Lim had shown to them.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
The students from Sisters of Mary Boystown also pose for a souvenir photo with the Tzu Chi volunteers. Bright smiles are seen on their faces as they wear their new eyeglasses.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】