• qxif-facebook-square
  • qxio-social-youtube
  • qxio-ios-telephone
  • qxio-search

A Little Love and Hope Make All Things Possible

After Komalaa a/p Sellathamby was accepted into the university, her father, Sellathamby a/l Manickam, had a profound revelation that a parent’s attitude is a key determinant to his child’s future. He is grateful for the assistance from Tzu Chi volunteers when he was at a loss. Their help and support have allowed his humble family to flourish.

Komalaa is incredibly grateful for her parents’ labour, which has enabled her to continue pursuing her studies. [Photo by Hong Geok Hui]

“Can you guess who was the happiest when Komalaa received an offer letter to study Pharmacy at Universiti Sains Malaysia? It was me!”

Sellathamby’s eyes brimmed with joy as he fixed his gaze on Tzu Chi volunteers and uttered, “I have worked hard day and night, and my effort has finally paid off!”

Komalaa has excelled academically since she was a kid. A novel she wrote in Primary 6 was chosen for publication. She won first place in a math competition held in Thailand. She scored 8As in the SPM examination, and completed her pre-university studies with a perfect CGPA.

She was well aware that her achievements were made possible by many people. For example, her father repaired gas stoves and delivered gas cylinders part-time to pay for his kids’ studies. Her mother worked as a casual cleaner besides taking care of house chores. Tzu Chi volunteers have cared for them since she was in primary school and granted her Tzu Chi Study & Awards Scheme.

The white spots on Sellathamby’s hands are due to a condition known as vitiligo; the skin will lose its pigment cells and the patient’s memory will gradually degenerate. [Photo by Hong Geok Hui]
Sellathamby works part-time in addition to his day job, to enable his children to receive education, so that they could one day turn around their fate for themselves and the family. [Photo by Hong Geok Hui]

The volunteers first visited the family in 2013. Learning that Sellathamby was unable to make end meets with his meagre income from delivering gas cylinders, not to mention, the family’s overdue rental and utility bills, they decided to first subsidize the family’s basic needs monthly. Then, they led him to think about his financial standing and how he could afford his children’s tertiary education costs without a proper financial planning.

Their words dawned on Sellathamby that education can turn around the fate of a child, a family, and even a race. With that, he switched his focus to his children’s education, and found a new job as a security guard, only delivering gas cylinders after work. To the volunteers’ surprise, he requested to discontinue Tzu Chi’s monthly subsidy within a year of the provision. Even so, the volunteers continued to recommend his children for Tzu Chi Study & Awards Scheme to ease the family’s burden and visit the family monthly.

Tzu Chi volunteers have been caring for Sellathamby’s family for years. They have also witnessed how hard the family has been striving to break through their predicament, and never forgetting to help others in need. [Photo by Hong Geok Hui]
In 2016, Komalaa (2nd from left) went on stage together with her family to share about how Tzu Chi Study & Awards Scheme had been of help to her family. [Photo by Hong Geok Hui]

During the MCO, volunteers applied for a tablet and a second-hand computer for Komalaa and her twin brothers. Later, when Komalaa was going for pre-university programme, her father could not afford to buy her a laptop as he had bought one each for her elder sister and brother, who were attending university and college. Thus, he sought help from the volunteers.

The moment Komalaa received a brand-new laptop from Tzu Chi, she exclaimed in disbelief, “I did not expect such a good and brand-new laptop! Thank you, Tzu Chi uncles and aunties, for your love and care. I feel that my effort is honoured and seen!”

◎ The fruits of love and hard work

On October 16, volunteers delivered a Diwali gift box to the family. Although Komalaa did not come home for the festival, volunteers were glad to learn that she was doing good away from home.

Volunteer Wong Lai Kam complimented, “The parents’ positive mindset is the key. They place great importance on the children’s education, so they strive to adapt and overcome difficulties. The kids have also put forth a great deal of efforts. The whole family works hard to improve their lives while volunteers aid from the side by offering company, encouragement and support.”

Diwali was around the corner. Tzu Chi volunteers arrived with a gift box for the family and offered their blessing. [Photo by Hong Geok Hui]

Komalaa believed that the volunteers have helped and nurtured them in the hope that they would be able to contribute to society one day. She said, “They are strict sometimes, but that is because they love and care about us.” Knowing that Tzu Chi’s funds come from public donations, she encouraged the student beneficiaries to put the donations to good use.

Sellathamby has been a Tzu Chi donor since Tzu Chi reached out to the family. Besides setting an example for his children, he also hopes to share his love through helping others. To his family, the volunteers’ timely care and support was much more valuable than their RM10 monthly donation.

He would also share Tzu Chi’s charitable missions with his relatives and friends. He declared, “I was thrilled whenever I heard stories of the beneficiaries getting back on their own feet. It proved that it was a right decision for me to donate and I felt energized.”

Pin It

Read More