Rebuilding Homes with Gratitude
On July 11, 2023, just before the rainy season, a team of six volunteers from the construction team arrived at the home of Srijana in the Nepali village where she lives with her family. Their mission was to repair the leaking roof in their kitchen.
Everyone pitched in; they replaced some of the tiles and metal sheets with zinc, and added an extra layer of wooden insulation to the bottom. They also extended the height of the roof for added comfort. To help the volunteer team, Srijana’s grandfather, Diyar, lent a hand. In just one day, they completed the entire renovation. Srijana and her grandparents were overjoyed and expressed their heartfelt gratitude to Tzu Chi for the assistance.
During the repair process, Diyar demonstrated remarkable skills, which caught the attention of the volunteers. They extended an invitation to him and suggested that. during this agricultural off-season, he might want to join the renovation team. Their goal is to disassemble and prepare simple houses for care recipients. Without hesitation, Diyar agreed.
The following day, he arrived at the Tzu Chi Center as planned, ready to help dismantle the simple house of Radheyshyam in the Seventh Village. This house had been severely affected by rain, rendering it unsafe for habitation.
After a home visit report, Tzu Chi decided to construct a simple house for them. Seeing Diyar's dedication, the volunteers were deeply moved. Volunteer Teoh Paik Lim (張栢林) was inspired and took the initiative to invite other male care recipients to join the renovation team, thereby expanding the circle of kindness. This initiative not only helped people rebuild their own homes but also provided support to other care recipients. Additionally, it allowed them to earn income to support their families; it presents the positive impact of Tzu Chi in the local community.
Diyar felt a profound sense of gratitude and shared: "Volunteers helped me repair my house. So, when they needed me, I came. The work here is fantastic." He mentioned that his initial tasks included drilling, painting, and cutting, and he expressed his commitment to continue. Teoh Paik Lim was deeply touched and said: "These gratitude recipients who participate in the program practically come to work every day. You can genuinely sense their gratitude, and it brings them joy."
Improve Lives, Nurture Seeds of Kindness
On July 19, 2023, volunteers revisited Srijana's home. Its leaky roof had been replaced with zinc panels, and the roof had been raised. The cooking area was now brighter and more spacious. Inside the house, everyone could stand upright and touch the zinc sheets above their heads without bending over. Srijana’s grandmother and the volunteers chatted and shared the joy in their hearts.
The volunteers talked to Grandfather Diyar; he expressed genuine delight in his involvement with Tzu Chi's "Work for Relief" program. The volunteers praised his dedication: "Grandfather is dedicated and excels in his work."
They also gently inquired if Grandmother would be interested in part-time employment, but she declined due to health concerns. But they encouraged her to consider onion peeling as an additional income source, similar to her daily kitchen duties. She agreed, and the volunteers took the opportunity to remind her not to dwell on health issues. They also encouraged Srijana to use her free time for studies.
August 5th marked another monthly distribution day. The charitable team paid another visit. Srijana happily said that her father had promised not to disturb their lives anymore, allowing her to care wholeheartedly for her grandparents. She also handed over a plastic bucket where she had saved a handful of rice each day to the volunteers. Everyone was deeply moved, and remarked how this eleven-year-old girl displayed such maturity, consistently doing good deeds—a role model for all.
A Gift to Master Cheng Yen
Srijana had enthusiastically learned the art of crafting ribbon baskets, a traditional Nepali practice used as part of a bride's dowry to store dry grains. She had acquired these skills from a local village woman; she used local materials like finely stripped grass and colorful ribbons repurposed from fertilizer bags. In January, she proudly presented her first completed ribbon basket as a gift for Master Cheng Yen through the volunteers.
Srijana, under the care of Tzu Chi volunteers since late 2022, is deeply grateful. Improved living conditions and increased family income allow her more time for studies, and bring closer her dream of becoming a teacher. Tzu Chi volunteers from Singapore and Malaysia have planted seeds of kindness in Nepal, nurturing their growth in this compassionate land.
A Jing Si Aphorism says: “If we do nothing useful, our life will pass by in vain. But if we keep working for the betterment of mankind, ours will be a great life.”
Join Tzu Chi. Let us work together to make our world a better place.
Story by Goh Lam Kia, Liao Yue-Hong, Li Zhi-Chen, and Wang Yu-Chang