Fostering Impactful Change through Acts of Kindness
by: Wilson C. A. CHANG of Table Lodge No. 9717 E.C.
According to the teaching of Freemason, the essence of charity lies in its ability to create a meaningful impact at the local, national, and global levels. In a remarkable display of compassion and community support, a heartwarming event unfolded on the 16th of August, 2023, at the Tawau Benevolent Care Centre. This event was graced by the presence of W Bro Peter N. L. Hsieh, Worshipful Master of Table Lodge No. 9717 E.C., along with Secretary W Bro Matthew P. H. Lo, W Bro Charity Steward William K. B. Saw, and Organist Bro Peter Dieh.
At the heart of this event was a deeply touching occasion – a momentous gesture marked by the presentation of a donation. The united efforts of the Brethren of Table Lodge materialized in the form of a RM5,000 cheque, symbolizing the second installment of their committed charitable contribution, which totals RM10,000.
The Tawau Benevolent Care Centre is overseen by the 'Society for the Deaf, Tawau, Sabah'. Under the guidance of Dr. Lo Vun Kong, Chairman of the Society of the Deaf, this Center has blossomed into a cherished sanctuary for its students.
During the warm welcome extended by Dr. Lo Vun Kong, a glimpse into the Center's journey was shared. Originating in 1986 with the initiation of classes for the deaf at Lok Yuk Kindergarten classrooms on Jalan Masjid, the Center eventually moved to its current location, several single-storey buildings at Taman Lim Den Choi, Jalan Kuhara, in 1996. Throughout its evolution, the Center's growth has been profound, expanding from teaching sign language and basic education to deaf children to becoming the "Centre for the Deaf and Disabled Children."
This transformation signifies the Center's commitment to children with a spectrum of needs, including those with autism and Spina Bifida. Driven by the call from the Tawau community to accommodate children with special needs, the Center's team displayed remarkable determination, recognizing the significance of providing for these children.
Despite the strides made, challenges endure. The existing facilities fall short of meeting the diverse requirements of the students, while the number of those in need continues to rise. The commendable support of the Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, who granted a 3-acre plot of land and a relocation grant due to the center's positive reputation, has illuminated a path forward. Yet, the road ahead necessitates unwavering effort, particularly in terms of facility enhancement, equipment provision, and the recruitment of skilled educators and assistants. Herein lies the power of public generosity.
While RM5,000 might appear modest on a larger scale, Table Lodge carries within it a resounding optimism. This donation stands as a testament to the Lodge's genuine concern, aspiring to make a positive imprint on the well-being and future prospects of students at the Center.
Looking forward, as the construction of a new center takes shape, Table Lodge envisions an active role to be played. The Society's dream is candid and inspiring – for deaf students, their challenges lie in the realm of auditory perception, not intellectual capacity. Guided by sign language in accordance with the government syllabus for primary school, they strive to transition smoothly to secondary school in Kota Kinabalu up to Form 3, and subsequently, to Form 5 in Penang, with the ultimate goal of pursuing university education.
In the absence of the Society's dedicated efforts, deaf and disabled children in Tawau would face the deprivation of basic education. Let us become integral to the Society's dream and contribute to the hopes of these beloved children of God. Together, through acts of charity and kindness, we can illuminate the path to a brighter future for all.