As face-to-face classes are restricted by the national government, the students would only receive a new set of modules every week to obtain an access to education. Along with that, the children were unable to complete their modules as a result of parents’ absence; and some children were not properly monitored with their meal time. Hence, ascribed by compassion, the haps prompted Joel to set up an educational tutorial for his neighbors and choose beneficiaries to be given with a Jing Si Multigrain Instant Mix.

Tzu Chi scholar Joel S. Araña, 20 year-old from Tupas, Antequera, Bohol, 2nd of 4 siblings, taking up Bachelor of Science in Electrical Technology at BISU Balilihan campus, shares the services he acted in his community. He is also an active scholar in different Tzu Chi activities, and a leader who always volunteers himself to do the sharing and inspirational message during their monthly humanity classes.

Early in the morning, Joel went to their Barangay Health Center, where he provided packs of Jing Si Multigrain Instant Mix for two beneficiaries. Both were reported to have a nutritional deficiency. He also assisted the parents to administer the mixed powder to the two children. There are not enough words to describe how happy the parents of the two children were, profoundly hoping that one day their children may ultimately belong to the healthy population.

Following the distribution of the Multigrain, Joel headed to his home to prepare the next activity for his neighborhood. While marking time for the students’ arrival, Joel went out and water the vegetable plants for he wants to be a vegetarian. Then, went into the shrubs to gather dry and seasoned firewood for cooking Binignit. This is a type of rice gruel popular in the Visayan region. It will serve as a midday snack for the children after the tutorial.

Shortly after, Joel introduced to the students the Jing Si Aphorisms for Kids. The book contains the teachings of Master Cheng Yen. By discoursing the words of wisdom from the books, Joel hoped that the children would not display sulky moods to their parents, notwithstanding their absence to help them with their academic works.

Among all the lessons that can be read from the 6 books of Jing Si Aphorisms, Joel greatly dwelled on filial piety or the love shown by children for parents.

While Joel was discussing the aphorism, his younger brother, James Araña, was contemplating the past events when he came home late opposed to what was agreed with his parents. However, he will try his best to be a good son to his parents.

James’ response has touched the hearts of many including the TCF staff. The rest of the students were avidly inspired to be good daughters and sons at home. Indisputably, taking steps that would inevitably dazzle the parents, like household chores, helps to ease the errands run by the elders.

Barely 5 meters away from where Joel is carrying out tutorials, Jeniebeth and Abita Araña can’t curb their tears from falling down as they proudly keep watching Joel helping children to cope up with their lessons.

“Joel as a brother has always been so kind, responsible when it comes to his studies and very approachable,” said Jeniebeth Araña, 22, Joel’s elder sister, a graduate scholar of the Tzu Chi Foundation. “I have always thought I could never get or obtain a college degree because of our family condition. I am so grateful to the Tzu Chi Foundation for helping me attained it and now helping my younger brother to complete his studies,” she explained.

“As a graduate scholar, I am so happy that they [scholars] also experience what I have experienced before. I do hope that the learnings you gain from Tzu Chi will remain in your hearts forevermore and apply it to our community as well. Be patient and always pray to God for guidance while chasing your dreams.” Said Jeniebeth.

“He has all the good characteristics of a son, I couldn’t ask for more,” said Abita Araña, 43, housewife, and the mother of Joel. “As a parent, it is not easy to raise children facing different challenges. I often ask myself how could I send my children to school while facing this poverty? I always pray that one day we can get out of this situation.”

“I am greatly filled with gratitude to the Tzu Chi Foundation, as two of my children [Jeniebeth and Joel] were granted college scholarships, making our family to have set foot in a better condition,” she continued.

“I am so grateful to be one of the Tzu Chi scholars because it taught me a lot of lessons, inspired me, and molded me to be a better person. Through this, I learned that we need to show love and care to our parents and do things that could make them happy. I also learned to do good deeds which I can share to the people in the community. Lastly, to adapt vegetarianism, which could lessen the killing of animals,” said Joel Araña, who also inspires others to do good deeds.

“To my parents, even though our life is quite tough, still we strive hard and keep on fighting because we have dreams and I want it to realize, someday. Soon after I graduate, I would immediately seek a job to pay back all the efforts you’ve exerted,” he added.

“The Tzu Chi Foundation has paved ways for me and my sister to achieve our dreams together. By that remark I would also like to give back the help that the TCF guaranteed to me, by means of donating and becoming a volunteer one day,” he affirmed.

After he finishes his studies, Joel wanted to be a regular volunteer of Tzu Chi to continue his mission to help and inspire others. Without hardship in life, we cannot fully understand the truth nor develop our full potential. May we always remember that there is always light after darkness.

In spite of the fact that it was truly a long and frazzling day for Joel, there was no single distress feeling shown in his graceful look. Beyond doubt, helping other people brings a relaxed ambiance, making us look charming and unruffled. Whenever life gives us challenges in this world, it teaches us how to persevere and fight for the dreams we have built.