Tzu Chi volunteers visited Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong to give rice and conduct home visits to families seeking medical assistance from the foundation.
On the 7th of July 2018, Tzu Chi volunteers made their way to Mandaluyong to distribute 20-kilo sacks of Taiwan rice to indigent residents of Barangay Addition Hills. It was also the first time that coin banks were handed out to the willing donors in the area with plans of the volunteers returning on the 4th of August to collect what the donors have saved for donation.
“I didn’t plan to get a coin bank but I wanted to give importance to what Tzu Chi was doing and teaching us. What’s important for me is that whatever I place in the coin bank, I give wholeheartedly.” says Rosalie Tupas, one of the first few to respond to the invitation for donors.
“We’re very grateful to Tzu Chi, especially since we didn’t expect to receive such a huge blessing,” she says, after collecting her share of the distributed rice.
After the distribution of the rice and coin banks, the attention of the volunteers were directed to two children requiring assistance. Their families approached Tzu Chi during the distribution of food stubs prior to the rice distribution.
Two-year-old Elaisha has a lump on the side of her forehead that has been growing since she was about a month old. Her parents cannot explain what caused it. “When she was younger, her forehead was just red, like a mosquito bite. Now, the lump grows along with her,” describes her father, Elmor Bugao.
Due to lack of funds, they have been unable to visit a doctor to get treatment. Their family moved from Mindanao to Mandaluyong this year in search of better jobs. Elmor reports that even if he and his wife have been saving up for a trip to the hospital, their income as janitors is not enough to make this possible.
Four-year-old Lia Ladao is in a similar situation; her family also has insufficient resources for her treatment. Lia has a problem with her feet. Although, she is not in pain, she suffers from lack of balance and moves awkwardly as her feet are bent inwards even during sleep or when relaxed.
It started when Lia was a year old, her feet began swelling and turning red. When her family brought her to a hospital, they were told that her feet had been infected; Lia needed to be confined and was placed on antibiotics for a week.
“The doctor told us that it was good that she was brought to the hospital early. If we had waited any longer, she wouldn’t be walking today,” Charlyn Boyore, Lia’s mother, says.
Aside from Lia’s bent feet, Charlyn also shares how her daughter would get easily tired and be out of breath just after walking a while. She also has irregular breathing while asleep. Because of this, Charlyn worries that Lia could be suffering from another illness.
Lia has been bullied over the way she walks and has had experiences where people would openly stare at her or talk about her within earshot. There have been times when Charlyn would either carry Lia around when they’re outside or simply ask for them to stay inside their house to avoid judging eyes.
Lia’s mother tears up as she shares how much she wants to get her daughter treated. “I’m just part of an office staff and my husband’s a messenger. We’re living off of minimum wage and cannot do anything. We don’t have enough money even if we want her to get better.”
It was Lia who informed her mother about Tzu Chi after her relatives introduced her to the volunteers “Ma, there are people coming to treat me. Let’s meet them so my feet could get better, I want to dance in school!” Lia had declared with much enthusiasm.
Both Elaisha and Lia are waiting for possible assistance from Tzu Chi to help them get the medical attention they need. The children will be further assessed by the foundation to see exactly what treatments they will need.
A little bit of kindness would help Tzu Chi change the lives of Lia and Elaisha. To #HelpTzuChiHelpOthers, visit http://tzuchi.org.ph/#donate-modal for more details.