From ill-willed mouths to words of empathy, students of the first Machine Operation Class (MOC) share the drastic changes they’ve felt over the course of the program.
At the MOC’s Christmas Party at the Tzu Chi Great Love Campus on December 19, the 21 students reveal to their classmates and Tzu Chi volunteers how the Buddhist organization has changed them. There were no reservations among the students as to how they used to get angry easily or didn’t care about the world. Due to Tzu Chi’s humanity classes in addition to the MOC, they’ve learned to look at life from another point of view.
“I’ve seen much improvement in them physically and mentally. They’ve learned to take life more seriously and even have set goals. They finally have a mission to take,” remarks Tzu Chi volunteer Theresa Samala, one of the teachers for the humanity classes every Monday.
In November, Tzu Chi formally opened the MOC as part of an expansion of its Mission of Education. For two months, students will learn the basics of operating industrial machinery such as lathes and mills. But as Tzu Chi believes that discipline is as important as skill, the MOC adds values formation in its curriculum. Under the tutelage of Tzu Chi volunteers, the students are taught core values such as filial piety and respect for life (i.e. adopting vegetarianism).
“The [values] development we gave them has been an eye opener for them. They saw what they could still do with their future,” Samala adds.
Alexis De Guzman, 27 years old from Navotas City, spared no word from sharing how the course has changed him. He enrolled into the MOC barely interested at all, although he could use the education to help him qualify for a job. After watching a few of Master Cheng Yen’s daily wisdom programs, not only has he made many friends in the class but has also learned to eat vegetables.
“I really didn’t want to eat vegetables, but after watching one of the Life Wisdom episodes I was worried about food going to waste,” De Guzman shares.
Some of the students like Eleazer Verano from San Mateo, Rizal have families to feed, yet hardly feels the love. They were once so focused on making ends meet that they would set aside little to no time for family time. Verano admits to this, going straight to bed upon arriving home and putting off other matters for the next day. Due in no small part of Tzu Chi’s humanity classes, he has learned that his life doesn’t necessarily have to be this way.
“One-and-a-half months into the MOC, I realized the value of family. Now, for me, my family is my first life. If not for my family, I probably would be at some roadside right now,” he narrates.
“I realized then that what I was doing was wrong. I also realized that the MOC is not just about how to operate machines but also about shaping your character,” shares 21-year-old Paul John Santos from Quezon City, once easily irritated over trivial things.
“After listening to the teachings of Master Cheng Yen in the morning, I’ve realized that I shouldn’t answer anger with anger. I can’t totally say that I’ve fully changed, but I’m getting there slowly,” shares 26-year-old Rodolfo Tolitol III from Manila, whose past bad habit involved bickering with his wife almost every day.
Others, in the past, suffered from avoiding responsibility, if not managing their time poorly. One such example by 21-year-old Iris Duhay stems from her fear of failing. With supportive friends surround her, however, she gained enough confidence to start on the path to become a role model in society.
“After Tzu Chi, through the efforts of my classmates, I realized that they have faith in me and my abilities. I’ve slowly begun taking responsibilities to become a better person and a better leader,” says Duhay.
“After Tzu Chi, I realized that this wasn’t the case. I’ve learned how to make friends and mingle with others. That’s why I’m glad that I knew about Tzu Chi,” shares 24-year-old Aimmie Gaviola from Pasay City, who once feared that people around her would hurt her.
After graduation, which is a month away, the students will go their separate ways with the lessons imparted on them by Jing Si wisdom. For now, their education continues into on-the-job training courtesy of Tzu Chi volunteers who operate factories in the metro. An educational tour in Cavite is also scheduled for next year for students to learn more about computer numerical control (CNC).
The festivities begin on the last day of the MOC class for the year 2017. The course will continue into 2018 as the pioneer batch of 23 students nears graduation. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
The students pray in silence for peace of mind, a harmonious society, and a disaster-free world. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
The students join hands and smile at the hearty tune of “Happy Face,” a Tzu Chi song about happiness. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Each MOC student is given the chance to share what they’ve learned under Tzu Chi’s tutelage aside from the technical skills. Eleazer Verano has learned to give his family–which gave him life–more love and care than before. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Iris Duhay (center) assumes the role of a mother who takes in a child her husband found at a roadside begging for food. The MOC has taught her to be more confident about herself and her capabilities. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Alexis De Guzman admits to showing little interest in the MOC from the beginning. But after just a few weeks, not only has he been doing his best but also adopting a vegetarian diet. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Rodolfo Tolitol III (center) plays the role of a child left by his mother, who was unable to support him after her husband was killed in a shootout. Near the end of the play, he resented his mother for leaving him but eventually realized that anger isn’t the answer to anger. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
As token of their gratitude, the students offer a Christmas card to professors from the Technological University of the Philippines. Huberto Montevirgen (right, background) serves as the instructor for the MOC. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
The students also prepared a Christmas card for Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yunez, who oversees the program. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Since learning about Jing Si wisdom, Paul John Santos has learned to control his temper, especially over trivial things. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Once fearful of people around her, Aimmie Gaviola has learned how to make new friends. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Toward the end of the program, each student receives a copy of Master Cheng Yen’s Jing Si Aphorisms. These will serve as their guide the moment they graduate from the course and venture out into the world. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
The MOC students with Tzu Chi volunteers and support staff. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】