In line with Tzu Chi’s lifelong mission of environmental protection, Tzu Chi Marikina Educational Recycling Center (TCMERC) on October 19 accommodated students of a school in San Juan City.
With the aim to teach ways to protect the environment, Tzu Chi volunteers welcomed 200 Grade-7 students in TCMERC. Tzu Chi volunteer Michael Siao explained to them the importance of waste segregation and recycling, especially in light of recent natural disasters.
After the talk, the students toured the facility. Their activities include segregating recyclables and planting seedlings at the garden.
Tzu Chi volunteer Siony De Guzman believes that this is a great opportunity to teach children about environmental protection.
“This is a great opportunity for the kids to come here, so they could learn how to save mother earth,” she said.
Arriving to TCMERC in three batches, the school’s outbound trip is an initiative to deepen the awareness of students in environmental issues and teach them little ways to help the environment.
“One of the objectives of the Grade-7 outbound education is to focus or to promote sustainable development through environment sustainability,” said teacher Dessa Macaraig. “It’s very important that we teach them how to be responsible in the long run. That’s the start, they can also contribute something to our country,” said teacher Stephanie Enriquez.
Both teachers desire for their students to be awakened to the situation of the world today and pass on their learnings to others. They’re doing this while the students are still young so that they develop these favorable habits when they grow older.
Mary Ann So, one of the children’s parents and a survivor of Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana) in 2009, said that segregation is a discipline that she wants to instill in her child even at home.
“So now, I want to teach my child to recycle. We also do that at home, so my child knows how to recycle,” So said.
One of Tzu Chi Foundation’s fivefold missions is environmental protection. A flagship of such a mission in the Philippines, TCMERC was inaugurated in September 2010, a year after Ondoy’s onslaught. Aside from functioning as a recycling center, the facility also entertains visitors eager to learn more about ways to protect Mother Nature. In Marikina alone, hundreds of local Tzu Chi volunteers—many survivors of Ondoy—gather recyclables from several recycling points.