Finding Peace and Spreading Love in Art Session

A mother and daughter immersing themselves in Mandala art. [Photograph by Ng Kok Hoong]

On 19 September 2020, some 20 children and their parents gathered online for the “Family Fun Mandala Art” class, held in conjunction with the Mid-Autumn Festival. Riding on the sense of achievement and delight fostered between the parents and children, session moderator, Teacher Chong Siew Fun, highlighted the other core purpose of this special session – to raise fund in support of Tzu Chi’s “Kita1Keluarga” relief programme.

With schools closed during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, many teachers grew concerned about their students’ learning and emotional well-being and started designing online programmes to maintain connection with their students and engage them with healthy contents. Teachers of Little Forest House were one such group. Over some three months, they held around 30 online sessions of art with story. These classes, made available to general public, proved to be nourishing to the students and healing for the parents. Grateful parents even contributed extra sums above the fees charged as a token of appreciation.

Moved by such generosity and knowing about Tzu Chi’s “Kita1Keluarga” relief programme, Teacher Yap HoiYan, who is also a Tzu Chi volunteer, decided to initiate a “Family Fun Mandala Art” class to pass along the generosity.

A meaningful festive family activity 

On September 19, some 20 children and their parents gathered online for the “Family Fun Mandala Art” class, held in conjunction with the Mid-Autumn Festival. There were families from Ipoh and even as far as Japan!

The teachers together with Tzu Chi volunteers planned a lively start to the class with songs and finger rhymes, where the children get to “challenge” their siblings and parents with their dexterity and hand-eye co-ordination. 

After the teases and giggles, the participants then settled down to begin their mandala art work, led through a story narration by Teacher HoiYan. Doing mandala art has a natural effect of centering a person’s thoughts and awareness. The symmetry of forms also promotes a sense of balance within. The outcome was a colourful kaleidoscope of art pieces drawn with mindfulness and in calm by children as young as 7 to adults in their late 40s.

Parents were thankful to the teachers for leading a fun-filled and artistic Saturday morning. Some parents have not drawn or painted for decades! Let alone draw together with their children.

A meaningful Mid-Autumn celebration for the families. [Photograph provided by Yau Wai Leong]

Cherishing and sharing blessings

Riding on the sense of achievement and delight fostered between the parents and children, session moderator, Teacher Chong Siew Fun then highlighted the other core purpose of this special session – to raise fund in support of Tzu Chi’s “Kita1Keluarga” relief programme.

Tzu Chi volunteer Fu Jia Lik was then invited to give an introduction of Tzu Chi Foundation and the rationale of its “Kita1Keluarga” relief programme. The participants were informed of the humble origins of the Foundation, its growth and global footprints as an international NGO, its four major missions as well as its 20-odd years of charitable work in Malaysia.

The “Kita1Keluarga” relief programme is yet another timely programme initiated by Tzu Chi to give much needed assistance to the segment of Malaysian community that suffers the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and falls in the “gaps” where no or insufficient aid has been given.

Tzu Chi volunteer Yau Wai Leong shared the plight of one such family of five. A 30-year-old Sabahan, sole breadwinner earning daily wages as a construction worker, was out of job during the thee-month MCO. His wife has not worked in order to care for their three young children. Job was still uncertain even with the MCO lifted. Rent was in arrears and debts mounted. It was even more heart-wrenching to hear that in such modern times, within the Kuala Lumpur cosmopolitan, this Malaysian family had to live on occasional meals of white rice with soy sauce and warm water with condensed milk.

However, it was heartening that the participants understood about cherishing blessings of a safe, well-provided family and the importance of also sharing such blessings to those in need. Besides contributing to the class fees (which proceeds are all donated to the “Kita1Keluarga” fund), some made additional contributions after listening to the sharing about the relief programme.

Teachers from Little Forest House felt most honoured to collaborate with Tzu Chi volunteers and complete such a meaningful and wholesome activity for the whole family. 

Even in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mid-Autumn Festival could still be celebrated in a well-rounded manner – with beautiful mandala art pieces, created hand-in-hand between parents and children and multiplying the circle of generosity from one to many.

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