Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Dec 02nd
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Home Charity StarSon Autistic Children Street Cleaning

Autistic Children Street Cleaning

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On the morning of Sunday, 25th July the Tzu Chi train started its trip from Chatswood to Windsor. Despite having to go through the tedium of transferring from train to bus, getting off, then boarding a train again, the enthusiastic spirits of the eight autistic children families and the numerous volunteers could not be dampened. Upon arrival at Windsor, the children could hardly wait to be organized. When they started using their implements to pick up litter, eager to return the clean streets to the Windsor residents.

After being briefed by Brother Zhong Kun Cheng on which route to take, the glove-wearing bodhisattvas big and small can be seen with their rubbish bags picking up and gathering cigarette butts, candy wrappers, glass, aluminium can, etc. They proceeded to the grounds of the oldest Catholic Church in Sydney, built in 1840. Brother Zhong briefly acknowledged the church's history, and then went with the group to the rear of the Church, continually picking up litter as they walked all the way to the River Park. There, the group had a rest and lunch.

Some of the autistic babies travelling in their strollers needed to be fed by their parents; while some older toddlers were being fed by their chasing parents as they walked. There was one child with special needs who was being fed with a tube directly into his stomach - such a heart-wrenching sight.
During lunchtime, there was a family with whom we chatted about their motivations in this activity. It is from adversity that we realise and accept our children regardless of their physical disabilities. They are our very own flesh and blood. We need not feel threatened by others' judgments, especially now that we are willing to answer Tzu Chi's invitation to enjoy these outdoor family activities. The father expressed the ease and joy he felt in the company of Tzu Chi
members. He also felt confident that whatever problems may arise during the trip, he knows that they will always be around to help. The mother also expressed her gratitude to the Tzu Chi volunteers for their assistance and care.

Among those autistic families, there was one who was Tzu Chi members, Mr. Zhao Gong Wei and his wife Liang Hui Lan. Having this affinity with Tzu Chi, they look forward to seeing their son join Tzu Chi someday. Mr. Zhao took his son's hands and walked among the members, enjoying the cultural trip. He encouraged his son, though initially unwilling, to get hold of the tongs and pick up his first rubbish. Seeing this, Sister Liang similarly praised and encouraged the boy to continue picking up the litters, starting with cigarette butts, candy wrappers, etc.

The group eventually reached the pier, picking up rubbish along the way. They started to sing along as a CD played some Tzu Chi songs and prayers, with joy on their faces. A slight drizzle came down but it couldn't diminish their high spirits. The Tzu Chi members performed hand gestures to portray the songs' meaning to the delight of the group. The autistic children so enjoyed clapping their hands in unison with the song, as if not wanting it to end.

Brother Zhong brought the group to Windsor town centre after the singing and showed its oldest hotel and clinic. They also visited the busy market before returning to the train station.Unexpectedly, there they saw Sisters Yaying, Hui Fang and Mingli to meet them with delicious pineapple and mushroom pastries. This is a fitting conclusion to a wonderful trip. Brother Zhong announced that next month, there will also be a similar trip to Wollongong. Finally, the volunteers and autistic families expressed their joy, with a feeling of reluctance to leave Windsor.

Translated by Roger Yu


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