Classroom Thursday: The Donation Box

Sometimes, Fellows find themselves learning valuable life lessons from students that they are meant to be teaching, as 2014 Fellow Amirul Zarif Azri relates in today’s Classroom Thursday entry.


 

“There was a fatal road accident yesterday involving a student. The principal and several teachers immediately went to visit the family. At school, the ustaz and ustazah organised tahlil prayers in the surau.

Throughout the day, there were students walking from classroom to classroom, holding a makeshift sign, ‘Derma Kilat untuk Arwah …’ and a cardboard box with a rectangular hole on top.

Without hesitation, almost all students in my class took out their pocket money and gave whatever they could. I know some of them are not well off, they can barely afford even a simple RM1-2 meal during recess on most days. One of them was Ahmad*.

“Ahmad*, awak kenal tak arwah tu siapa?”
[Ahmad*, do you know who the deceased is?]

“Tak kenal sir, dia sesi petang.”
[No, I don’t know him, he’s from the afternoon session.]

“Kenapa awak derma semua duit awak? Macam mana awak nak makan nanti?”
[Why did you give away all of your money? How will you eat later?]

“Lapar tak apa sir, sekejap sahaja. Kalau apa-apa terjadi dekat saya, saya tahu yang lain akan buat yang sama untuk tolong mak saya.”
[It’s alright sir, my hunger’s only for a short while. If anything was to happen to me (God forbid), I know the others will do the same to help my mother]

Truth be told, he brought me to shame. I forced a smile. He returned it, except that his didn’t look forced. I was taken aback by the purity of his answer.

Even if I put hundreds of ringgit in that donation box, it could never possibly weigh the same as that RM1 note and the few loose coins that preceded it.

Sometimes I wonder in this Fellowship, who is the teacher, and who is the student?”