Home Missions Environmental Protection Tzu Chi promotes vegetarianism, recycling to new school

Tzu Chi promotes vegetarianism, recycling to new school

Tuesday, 29 August 2017 10:10 AM | ARTICLE BY | Erin Uy
Here, Principal Calosing is teaching two of the students about the importance of recycling and segregation. 【Photo by Erin Uy】

Story Highlights

  • Placido Del Mundo Elementary School in Novaliches, Quezon City joins dozens of participants in Tzu Chi’s 21-day vegetarian lunch campaign for the first time. Its students and teachers express their delight as they feasted upon various meat-free meals.

As part of Tzu Chi Foundation’s observance of the Auspicious Month, it prepares over 900 boxed lunch meals to the participants of the 21-day vegetarian lunch campaign. While most have been participating since the previous year, more join at the encouragement of friends.

One of these new participants is the Placido del Mundo Elementary School in Novaliches, Quezon City.

Principal Virginia Calosing hopes to promote the various principles of Tzu Chi among the students and staff that she oversees as its head.

“When Tzu Chi volunteers came here to promote recycling, we invited the local student council so that they can learn first-hand about the different Tzu Chi values from visiting Tzu Chi volunteers. We also want to invite them, as well as their parents, so that they can learn about the different programs,” she shares.

In Calosing’s second year as principal, Tzu Chi has set up a recycling station in the school that operates every other Saturday. The recycling volunteers assigned to the school alternate between the new location and Pasong Tamo Elementary School, where Calosing served as principal two years ago.

“I also want to slowly but surely implement vegetarianism here in the school. I’ve communicated with our feeding program teacher, and would eventually be going over what we can slowly but surely implement so that the students will start living healthier and not only eat vegetables, but also encourage them to grow their own vegetables as well,” she adds.

She has encouraged participation among her employees for the 21-day vegetarian lunch campaign. Among the teachers who signed up for the program is Cindy Solis, who teaches Science for Grade-6 students.

“I learned about Tzu Chi due to the vegetarian lunch meal campaign, as well as the efforts to help spread recycling awareness. I became interested in these two particular campaigns because I am a science teacher, and I know the importance of recycling. I have encouraged my students to use recyclable materials with their projects,” Solis shares.

At the same time, she is encouraging her students to gather up what spare change they can find. No matter how small, the amount pooled together can help out those in need.

“When I learned that Tzu Chi has a similar program (of saving up coins to help out those in need), we decided to put all the gathered coins in there as a donation instead. Another good thing is that the students know where the money will be going, that’s why they also learn the importance of sharing,” she adds.

Tzu Chi volunteer Woon Ng played a part in encouraging the faculty to participate during the 21-day campaign.

“Not only do we have Principal Calosing promoting and advocating the various missions of Tzu Chi Foundation to the members of Placido del Mundo Elementary School, her own participation and involvement with Tzu Chi (back when she was the principal of the Old Balara Elementary School and Pasong Tamo Elementary School) has given her the knowledge and wisdom to be able to share Tzu Chi’s advocacies to new people,” Ng says.

Promoting healthy eating

While most of the participants are teachers, several students choose to take part in the campaign.

There are days when Grade-6 student Ryan Calimag brings packed lunch to school. At some days, he receives allowance to buy food. Upon trying the vegetarian packed lunch, he immediately says that it is delicious.

“The benefits you get from eating fruits and vegetables can really help, especially with growing children like us,” he says, adding that eating vegetarian has healthy benefits.

Fellow Grade-6 student Shane Manuel shares Calimag’s sentiments about vegetables being good for young children like them. Her curiosity drove her to try the vegetarian meal.

“I wanted to try eating the packed lunch, because I was curious to know how it tasted. I also want to keep my body healthy and free from sickness,” Manuel shares.

Among the dishes, the stewed vegetables with shredded egg and chili pepper became a hit among the students, along with vegetarian ham slices atop a bed of chopped cabbage. They called the stewed vegetables laing, as it matches its appearancedespite not being cooked in coconut milk.

For Grade-6 student Isabella Macalinao, her reasons for eating vegetarian are personal.

“I’m afraid of getting heart disease. Most of the members of my family seems to get sick because of that. It makes me sad when I think about it, because I recently lost my grandfather to stroke. That’s why I can’t risk eating meat and unhealthy fat, which is why I want to eat vegetables,” she shares.

Just like her fellow classmates, Macalinao picked the laing as her favorite.

“Some students like eating vegetables, and yes, this program (of eating one vegetarian meal a day) can encourage them to eat healthier,” she adds.

Grade-5 student Precious Villanueva emphasizes the need to eat vegetables as important in staying healthy.

“I can avoid eating meat, because whenever animals are killed, they can spread germs and can be a cause of us getting sick as compared to eating vegetables,” she says.


Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2017 10:10 AM

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