Keeping a strong mind, pure heart, and positive outlook towards life despite problems is not an easy thing to do. Depression nowadays is a big factor why some people is choosing to end their life rather than face their hurdles.
But one beneficiary of Tzu Chi Foundation’s Long-Term Care Assistance Program proves that nothing can destroy her positive disposition in life.
Jimmily Belza is a graduate of Accountancy and was working as a sales auditor in 2009 when she was diagnosed with diabetes. A couple of months later, she lost her vision.
She was only 25 years old. She had many dreams and was only starting to realize them when she became blind.
Things went from bad to worse when she also acquired chronic kidney disease in 2015. She started undergoing a dialysis treatment, which leaves her feeling weak and dizzy.
Jimmily’s parents are both dead and she lives in their house together with her only sibling, Ien-Lee, and its daughter (Sharja). Her aunt Shirly Belza also looks after Jimmily.
Ien-Lee witnessed how Jimmily suffers because of her illness.
She recalls an incident one midnight when Jimmily was so weak she couldn’t walk. She also struggled with her breathing, suffered from loose bowel movement, and vomited a lot. She was crying in pain.
“When things get worse, we really have to bring her to the hospital,” narrates Ien-Lee.
The Belza family were also problematic that time because they don’t have enough money for the medication of Jimmily. They often loaned money from their friends to help Jimmily survive, however, they all know that they can’t stay that way for a long time.
In this dark phase of their lives, they met Tzu Chi Foundation.
“When I was in the ICU (Intensive care unit), my aunt looked for people and organization that can support my medication because I already lost my job and I don’t have any source of income. One of the councillors in our barangay recommends Tzu Chi Foundation (as it is known for their compassionate service to the needy),” says Jimmily.
After seeking Tzu Chi’s help, Jimmily was admitted into Tzu Chi’s Long-Term Care program in March 2015.
Belza family supports Tzu Chi’s advocacy
Belza, now 34 years old, has been a beneficiary of Tzu Chi’s Long-Term Care Program for two years now. She receives Php 3,000 cash allowance and 20-kilos of rice every month. She uses the money for her laboratory tests and dialysis treatment.
Grateful for Tzu Chi’s help, Jimmily and Shirly thought of a way to give back to the foundation. They came up with the idea of collecting plastic bottles from their neighbors. They intend to sell it and donate the proceeds to Tzu Chi.
Because of Jimmily’s condition, Shirly decided that she’ll be the one in-charge of collecting the recyclables.
“I learned in Tzu Chi the importance of choosing the right thing and doing what is right. If you receive help, you also have to help others. I want to give back all the help that Tzu Chi has given us,” says Shirly.
According to Shirly, this is also their way of saving the environment from destruction. They also encourage their whole family to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle as their way of showing compassion to all living things.
Meanwhile, because Jimmily can’t go outside to help her aunt, she saves a part of her profit from making and selling dainties in a coin bank. Every month, she donates the money that she has saved to Tzu Chi Foundation.
“Tzu Chi does not only give me cash and rice, but they are also giving me hope and love. Despite of my condition and situation in life, I still believe that I need to give what I can to help others as well. If no one will have the initiative to help, then who will?” says Jimmily.
An inspiration for everyone
In spite of her condition, Jimmily still works to earn a living. She sells graham balls and yema. She personally makes the pastries with help from her nephew, Charles Aaron.
Though she can’t see the ingredients and the utensils, she enjoys doing it as it makes her forget about her situation. Jimmily believes that if she will let her sadness to control her, she will just get weaker and it will not do her any good. Jimmily shares what she does whenever she feels like she is losing hope.
“I will pray then I will tell myself that ‘Jimmily, you can survive that. You are bigger and stronger than your sickness’,’’ she says.
She also has a message for all the people who are in the same shoes like her.
“As long as we are alive we can still do good deeds, we can still be happy, and do not lose hope for there are a lot of people out there who are willing to help us. Just continue doing good things, because a pure heart will be blessed,” adds Jimmily.
Charles Aaron admires his aunt’s strength. He believes that her story should be shared to many people.
“I believe that she can be a role model for everyone. Yes, she is disabled, but it does not hinder her from being productive. She is our constant reminder that the person who can really help us to survive is also ourselves,” shares Charles Aaron.
Tzu Chi volunteers visit Jimmily Belza at their home in Tinajeros, Malabon. Since Jimmily is not feeling well that day, the volunteers assist her in walking.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Tzu Chi volunteers feed Jimmily Belza since she is feeling dizzy because of the dialysis treatment she has just underwent the previous day.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz 】
The volunteers also help Jimmily Belza drink water. Jimmily says she is overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness and care of the volunteers towards her.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Jimmily Belza saves a part of her profit from selling graham balls and yema in a coin bank as donation to Tzu Chi.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Jimmily Belza wholeheartedly donates her savings to Tzu Chi. Volunteer Joy Carambias receives the donation in behalf of Tzu Chi. Because of her condition, Jimmily can’t go to the Jing Si Hall in Quezon City to give her donation. She often asks her aunt to do it for her. Hence, her happiness that she can give the donations to a Tzu Chi volunteer this time.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Tzu Chi volunteer Zenaida Gabormi assists Jimmily Belza as the latter takes her medicines.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Jimmily Belza shows to the volunteers how she manages to take her medicines despite her blindness. Jimmily knew her medicines just by touching it.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Jimmily Belza makes the graham balls which she will sell. Aside from the profit that she gets from it, this small business keeps her occupied and reduces the stress she gets from her condition.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Because Jimmily Belza is blind, she puts the graham balls in the Tupperware by groping. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Jimmily Belza sells the graham balls for 6 pesos per piece. Her capital for this is worth Php 300 and her profit is also Php 300. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Jimmily Belza’s nephew Charles Aaron and niece Sharja help her in preparing the yema which Jimmily will also sell along with the graham balls.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Unable to see, Jimmily Belza has developed a strategy in determining the amount of money she is holding. Her niece will tell her how much she was holding then Jimmily will fold it according to its worth.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
If the money is Php20, she folds it once. If it is Php 100, she folds it twice in a horizontal way; and when the money is Php50, she folds it twice in a vertical pattern. She determines the worth of the coins by their shapes. In this way, Jimmily Belza can give the exact amount of change to her customers.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Jimmily Belza also spends her time by taking care of her niece, Sharja. She teaches Sharja how to read. Sharja will enumerate the letters of the word, and then Jimmily will say the right pronunciation.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Jimmily Belza’s aunt, Shirly, asks her neighbors to give their plastic bottles to her. Shirly intends to donate to Tzu Chi Foundation the proceeds from selling these plastic bottles.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Even the children in their neighborhood donate their recyclables to Shirly Belza because they are aware that it is the Belza’s way of showing gratitude to Tzu Chi Foundation. They also know that by doing it, they can help people in need. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】