Thursday, Apr 15

Searching for keys to their door of dreams

July 12, 2018 | Jonas Trinidad

For this year's annual overseas educational tour, 32 students and faculty staff from Tzu Chi University's College of Medicine will be participating in a medical activity in Ormoc City, Leyte. For their first tour in the Philippines, the students hope to find the key to achieving great things. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • On its annual International Volunteer Service, 32 students and teachers from Tzu Chi University College of Medicine will perform medical outreach and academic exchange in the Philippines. Their tour of duty will last for nine days, from July 12 to July 20.


This year’s annual overseas tour by Tzu Chi University (TCU) medical students will take them to the impoverished of the Philippines.

As part of the International Volunteer Service, 32 students and staff from the TCU College of Medicine on July 12 traveled to the country. The nine-day tour will see them serve in medical missions in several locations, most notably Ormoc City in Leyte (from July 13 to 17). They will also meet with school execs to discuss possible cooperation with TCU in the field of medicine.

For the students, the tour is a chance to open their chosen door of dreams. And the keys might just be somewhere among the people they will serve.

Amidst her Ph.D. education, Shamini Albert Raj acts as the elder sister of the group. During the group’s tour of Tzu Chi Great Love Campus, she explains ideas and concepts to fellow students piecemeal. While unable to speak Chinese, the student from India gets her ideas through the language barrier.

“When I came here and I saw them I was like: ‘Okay, these guys don’t understanding something because they are all undergraduate students. They haven’t been exposed to things like this,” narrated Raj, taking up Pharmacology.

Her dream is to find a way to make medicine affordable enough to the less privileged. And she believes that the key can be found in interactions with the less privileged of the Philippines.

“I need to see what’s going on and to know what medicine they can and cannot afford. So if I don’t know that, I can’t do this. Getting to my research, I wanted to come here,” Raj added.

Meanwhile, Anggi Osyka is on a quest to find peace in her heart. Hailing from Indonesia, Osyka feels familiar with the landscape including the impoverished state of most families. For her, she can only find peace within the smiles of people she helps.

“Helping other people and seeing other people smiling are real happiness,” explained Osyka, taking up Public Health Care.

Since 2013, the TCU College of Medicine has initiated this outreach program as a way to not only hone their craft but also instill compassion. The philosophy that has carried the university over generations stems from Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s principles of “feeling for the suffering of those in pain and sorrow.” As such, it’s imperative for its students to get a feel for the life of the less privileged.

“I hope in this trip I can witness suffering and realize my blessings. In seeing this suffering, I hope that when I become a doctor I can show my Great Love and help the needy,” explained Lai Wei-ting (賴韋廷), taking up Traditional Chinese Medicine.

  • Under an overcast, Tzu Chi Philippines volunteers and staff welcome the delegation from Tzu Chi University (TCU). 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Their first stop is the Tzu Chi Eye Center within the Great Love Campus in Manila, where they're given a tour of its state-of-the-art facilities. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Tzu Chi volunteer Rosita Daluz shows a group of students around the various clinics on the ground floor, as well as the equipment inside. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • As the senior in the delegation, Shamini Albert Raj (right) feels the need to educate her schoolmates in medical terminology. She's in her first year of Medicine. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • TIMA ophthalmologist Antonio Say (right) demonstrates how this control panel in the operating room works. The panel controls a multitude of functions such as lighting and air conditioning. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The delegation gathers at the assembly hall on the eye clinic's third floor for a short program and a light snack. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • At the invitation of the eye clinic, Remedios Cabe tells her story how Tzu Chi treated her glaucoma. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Eduardo Liwanag, who also suffered from glaucoma, was also invited to share. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The students tour the Machine Operation Class (MOC) workshop just in time to see the second batch of MOC students at work. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • MOC students demonstrate how they work with their respective machines. This student shows how he works with the lathe machine. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Despite a considerable language barrier, TCU students try to understand the nuts and bolts of machine operation. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】