Pal Buddhist School in Sydney Funding Humanitarian Project with Tutoring Program
Pal Buddhist School (PBS), a Buddhist high school in Sydney, Australia, is working with Teach4Peace, a non-profit tutoring service organization, to “give the gift of education to children of Prey Thom Primary School in Cambodia.” (Pal Buddhist School)
Tutors work pro bono for this initiative, and the project is financed by a combination of student fees and donation drives. The funds are used to buy educational materials for Prey Thom. In 2016, the Teach4Peace team visited Prey Thom Primary School to donate educational resources. Contributed items included textbooks, writing books, pens, toothbrush kits, and a data projector for students.
“Teach4Peace is set up as a non-profit tutoring school, and I think that’s probably the first that I’ve heard of,” said Helen Lam, deputy principal of PBS. “A lot of tutoring schools are just out there to make money, but Teach4Peace uses education as a seed to spread around the world,” she added. Lam, who also tutors for Teace4Peace, said the program is a kind of cycle of generosity. “The kids are getting a lot, not only in academic expertise, but also them knowing that the tutors genuinely care,” she said. “It teaches them about the virtues and morals that are part of education.” (The Daily Telegraph)
Dr. Min Zhao Lee, who taught science and mathematics at James Ruse Agricultural High School for 15 years, donates his time and expertise to tutor. “I’ve always been quite interested in teaching,” said Lee. “When I went through school myself we had students come back and teach us and from that I thought, ‘I can do this’. “I [wanted] to give back the same thing I got when I was learning at school.” (The Daily Telegraph)
PBS’s Teach4Peace program is coordinated with the Cambodia project wing of the Buddhist Library, a non-profit educational organization based in Sydney. An “email pal” (a modern twist on the pen pal tradition) initiative has also been set up to forge long-distance friendships and cultural understanding between Prey Thom and PBS students.
Founded in 2013, PBS is a non-profit school that aims to provide a high standard of education to the Asian refugee community while attracting diverse students from the greater Sydney region and around the world. Although it teaches Buddhist values such as kindness, compassion, and virtue, it is legally a secular school. “As a school we do not adopt the religious aspect of Buddhism. We teach the philosophy,” said principal Pal Panha in an interview from 2014. (Fairfield City Champion)
“The Pal Buddhist School vision is to provide an inspirational education where each student strives to attain their personal best,” the PBS website states. “We take it as self-evident that all beings wish to be free from suffering. Pal Buddhist School seeks to empower our students, teachers, staff, and broader community, composed of both Buddhists and non-Buddhists, to achieve freedom from suffering on the basis of an evolving education system founded upon the early Buddhist texts.” (Pal Buddhist School)
Australia’s first Buddhist high school leads charge with non-profit tutoring program (The Daily Telegraph)
About the School (Pal Buddhist School)
Teach4Peace (Pal Buddhist School)
Philosophy, not religion, is PAL Buddhist High School’s aim (Fairfield City Champion)