Thursday, May 06

Ateneo students learn upcycling, joys of volunteerism

November 10, 2018 | Charissa Tulinao

On November 10, 2018, 20 freshmen students from Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) took part in an upcycling and values formation activity with volunteers of Tzu Chi Foundation. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

Story Highlights

  • Together with the Office for Social Concern and Involvement of Ateneo de Manila University, Tzu Chi conducted an upcycling and values formation activity on November 10 at Pasong Tamo Elementary School in Quezon City. Twenty freshmen students learned how to create mats and paper bags from recycled materials, along with good values.


On November 8, 2018, freshmen students of Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) attended a Tzu Chi-held workshop about upcycling and values formation in Pasong Tamo Elementary School in Quezon City.

Tzu Chi volunteers spearheaded the activity together with Lanz Espacio, a student formator for the ADMU Office for Social Concern and Involvement. They crafted mats from recycled fabric to be donated to Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, a local NGO that caters to persons with disabilities (PWDs), and paper bags from recycled magazines. The day ended with a lesson on value formation conducted by Tzu Chi volunteers.  

Espacio, 23, explained that freshmen students undergo a formation program that gives them the opportunity to interact with different communities and organizations. He believes that Tzu Chi’s values are parallel with Ateneo’s, a reason for their office to get acquainted with the foundation.

“The values in Ateneo are very much resonant with the values that Tzu Chi offered, which includes: environmental protection, recognizing the humanistic values, and compassion for one another. These are values that I think Ateneo and Tzu Chi share. We believe that Tzu Chi can provide a good opportunity for us to really orient our students along these values,” Espacio narrated.

He also shared that their program is called Binhi, which translates to seed in English. He believes that this concept mirrors that of Master Cheng Yen’s notion of sowing seeds of goodness.

“When we speak of forming freshmen this early stage in Ateneo, it is really important to plant these seeds. So that throughout their education they will be able to grow into more compassionate people. People who really recognize that there’s a need to reach out to others who do not necessarily come from the same background,” he added.

Majoring in BS Mathematics, Aliah Ysabel Besid knew Tzu Chi from her former school, Philippine Chen Kuang High School. She stated that Tzu Chi frequently holds activities in her school.

She’s happy that she was able to experience volunteering work and mingle with the volunteers who made her feel welcome. Upcycling had taught her not to take things for granted.

“Most Atenean students are privileged and are not immersed in this kind of work. Because of today’s activity, we got to know what it’s like,” said Besid.

Joachim Regalado, majoring in BS Applied Mathematics with Specialization in Mathematical Finance, voiced out his respect for Tzu Chi. He is overjoyed that Tzu Chi opened up a chance for him to help people who are less fortunate.

“In Ateneo, we are taught to be men and women for others. And I think the best way to do that is by helping out and volunteering in organizations such as Tzu Chi that have goals and to be part of something greater than ourselves,” said Regalado.

Tzu Chi volunteer Analyn Deguzman shared that she was surprised to see the students interested and keen on learning. She felt that they were truly willing to help and make the PWDs of Tahanang Walang Hagdanan happy.  

Through her experience, she wants to inspire the students to keep on helping others and never let anything stop them from doing so.

“I have asthma, and I never let this condition hinder me from volunteering. I want to share this kind of thinking to these students, that they shouldn’t let anything stop them from helping others,” shared Deguzman.

Ateneo has recognized Tzu Chi’s unceasing compassion and humanitarianism. In 2016, Tzu Chi was a recipient of the Parangal Lingkod Sambayanan Award, given to an individual or organization that continuously renders public service “in a manner worthy of emulation and distinction as good role models for the youth.”

  • The students learn how to create paper bags using old magazines and newspapers under the guidance of a Tzu Chi volunteer. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • The mats the students were tasked to craft are to be given to Tahanang Walang Hagdan, a local NGO that caters to persons with disabilities (PWDs). 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • Analyn Deguzman shows the complexity of making the mats as neat and beautiful as possible. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • Aliah Ysabel Besid (left) begins to master the art of making mats. This is her first exposure to such work, making her feel enlightened. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • The upcycling and values formation activity were held inside a classroom in Pasong Tamo Elementary School, Quezon City. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • The students listen attentively to the values formation as they learn about instilling good thoughts and removing impure ones. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • In his first term as a student formator, Lanz Espacio expresses his excitement for being able to be one of the few to mold the students into better persons for the community. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】