December 18, 2023
Unseen by the eyes, but felt by the heart
By Marella Saldonido
To make Blind Republic Philippines’ Christmas even merrier, Tzu Chi Philippines volunteers joined them in their celebration on December 15 in Caloocan City.
The group of blind massage therapists and street singers was formed during the height of the pandemic as they felt the need to support each other during a challenging time. It was also then that they were introduced to the Tzu Chi Foundation and became beneficiaries.
“We were very thankful to Tzu Chi at that time because they did not only help us but also gave us an opportunity to help our fellow blind people,” says Blind Republic Philippines President Ramir Sayson. Ramir and the first members of the group shared the blessings that they received from the foundation with other people in their community. Since then, the group has started to grow and gain more support, and it now has 90 members.
During the gathering, the members dedicated a song to Tzu Chi as a way to express their utmost gratitude. With the enthusiasm of their president, they were able to learn one of Tzu Chi’s songs, “Love and Care for All,” and sing it for the volunteers in attendance. “I kept repeating the song over and over again because it has such a beautiful message,” he marvels.
The celebration continued with Christmas carols performed by the present members of the group and the distribution of gifts from Tzu Chi volunteers. Each member received 10 kilograms of rice, groceries, toiletries, and clothing items, which they were utterly grateful for. “They all went home very happy. Even if some of them live a bit far, they said it was worth the travel.”
As for the Tzu Chi volunteers who came all the way from Manila to Caloocan, it was also worth the travel to see the smiles of the blind beneficiaries. Before saying goodbye, Ramir turned over his coin bank to the volunteers and hoped to help other people in need with his donation.
“It’s just a small amount, but we learned in Tzu Chi that it doesn’t matter how much we can give as long as it’s from our hearts.”