Tzu Chi Events Around the World


In 2015, Typhoon Soudelor caused serious damage to the aboriginal Heliu village in Fuxing District, Taoyuan, northern Taiwan. Fourteen homes were destroyed by mudslides. Working with the Taoyuan city government and the Council of Indigenous Peoples, Tzu Chi built new homes for these families. The homes were turned over to them at an inauguration ceremony on the morning of August 19.

The houses built by Tzu Chi came in three sizes—555 square feet for households with one or two people, 1,000 square feet for three to five people, and 1,210 square feet for six to ten people. One family with more than ten members moved into two units. A total of 15 houses were built.

Tzu Chi volunteers went to the newly constructed homes the day before the inauguration ceremony to tie a red ribbon to each home to wish the families good luck. They also left a house-warming gift of 12 items in every home.

Lin Bi-yu (林碧玉), vice president of the Tzu Chi Foundation, remarked at the ceremony that two years after the typhoon, Tzu Chi finally finished building permanent houses for the 14 families. She hoped that they would settle in and build up a nice community together. Another Tzu Chi volunteer read a letter from Master Cheng Yen, which conveyed her best wishes to the new residents.

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said that when Typhoon Soudelor struck in August 2015, residents of Heliu had already been evacuated by the city, so no one was injured by the storm. After the typhoon, the city government worked with the central government and Tzu Chi to complete permanent houses for those who had lost their homes. The mayor added that he had met Master Cheng Yen three times to talk about the construction of the houses, and she had always reminded him to look after the lives and livelihoods of these villagers, especially the elderly people. Although Master Cheng Yen was not present at the ceremony, the mayor had confidence that the government had taken her reminders to heart when planning for the new homes. The new homes, for example, are in a convenient location and only one kilometer from the old Heliu village, so the resettled residents could retain their means of livelihood if they wanted. The mayor hoped this collaboration would serve as a model for other reconstruction efforts in the future.

Tzu Chi volunteers started caring for these 14 families when the foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Taoyuan city government. Now that they have moved into their new homes, volunteers will continue to care for them.

Tzu Chi volunteers in Taiwan deliver blessings to new homes built for 14 families rendered homeless by Typhoon Soudelor.  Chen Pei-xuan


A heavy downpour on August 11 caused severe flooding in some low-lying areas in the Malaysian state of Melaka. After the rain eased up, Tzu Chi volunteers immediately mobilized to assess damage and deliver hot meals to victims.

The following day, August 12, volunteers reached out again to donate emergency cash directly to victims. Upon seeing the volunteers, Tan Jee Wa (陳玉花) thanked them for twice bringing her family hot food and water the day before. Advanced in years, she suffered from Parkinson’s disease, so she could neither help her family clean up their house nor go out to buy boxed meals. As a result, she was very grateful to the volunteers for providing hot meals for them. Now the volunteers were visiting again to deliver emergency cash to her family. She couldn’t stop praising the volunteers for their kind-heartedness.

“The food you brought us yesterday was really delicious, thank you,” said another victim, Yeo Tin Egh (楊善蘭). When she learned that they were visiting again to deliver a consolation letter from Master Cheng Yen and emergency cash, she continued to thank them. She said that she had to pay rent on her home and relied on welfare, so she had to tighten her belt, especially considering that she could not always find work. The emergency cash would make her life a little easier.

When volunteers were distributing hot meals the day before, they learned that an elderly couple, Tong Teck Lee (張德利) and his wife, Chin Kim Thoo (秦金珠), were stranded in their flooded home. They rushed to the couple’s home to render assistance. When they arrived, they saw that the husband had suffered a wound on his foot that would not stop bleeding. Furthermore, the wounded foot had been soaking for a long time in dirty floodwater. A medical volunteer treated his wound and other volunteers helped clean up their house. The couple was very touched by the warmth from the volunteers.

The volunteers visited the couple again on August 12 to give them the Master’s letter and emergency cash. With the couple’s consent, they sent Tong to a hospital to have his wound treated. They sent Chin, who was restricted in mobility, to a nursing home. Lim Geok Choe
(林玉招), CEO of the Tzu Chi Melaka branch, said that after Tong was discharged from the hospital, Tzu Chi would help the couple find a suitable house that would never be flooded.

The volunteers also met two sisters who were over 70 years old. They had begun cleaning up their home the day before, but they had not completed the work. They were taking a break from the cleanup when the volunteers visited them.

They accepted the emergency cash from the volunteers, but after listening to the volunteers introduce the history of Tzu Chi, they told the volunteers that they wanted to donate the cash back to the foundation. The volunteers asked the sisters whether they would keep some of the money to buy daily goods for themselves, but the elder sister insisted that they would like to donate all the money and use the opportunity to help others. With that, they donated all the cash that they had just received from the volunteers.

Dr. Sharifah Omar worked at a hospital, where she regularly encountered Tzu Chi volunteers. Although she too was a flood victim, she felt that she had the means to recover from the flood, so she accepted the consolation letter but declined the emergency cash. She asked the volunteers to give the money to people who needed it more.

Tzu Chi volunteers worked 175 shifts on August 11 and 12 and delivered aid to 355 families.



Heavy rains on August 11 caused flash floods in some low-lying areas in Melaka. Tzu Chi volunteers delivered hot meals and emergency cash to victims to help them through their difficult time.    Huang Yu-hua


“Tzu Chi volunteers have arrived and my wish has come true!” Margarita Osorio, mayor of Nogales, exclaimed emotionally at a Tzu Chi distribution held in her city.

Eighty percent of the population in this city of over 21,000 people are farmers, many of them poor. The mayor herself is a single mother raising three children, so she understands the hardship that her people are going through.

The mayor had previously met Xie Zhen-xiang (謝楨祥), head of Tzu Chi Chile, through a friend. Knowing that Tzu Chi was a charity organization, she asked Xie to help the needy in her city.

Four volunteers from Santiago drove 90 minutes to Nogales on June 20 to assess the needs in the city and meet with the mayor and her staff. Together, they decided to hold a winter distribution of eating utensils, pans, and blankets at the city stadium on July 23.

People started arriving early that morning. They queued up in an orderly line and picked up their claim checks first. While recipients were waiting for the distribution to begin, Xie explained to them how Tzu Chi had started: Thirty housewives, led by Master Cheng Yen, each saved 50 Taiwanese cents (about 1.2 U.S. cents) a day to help the needy. Using that story to illustrate his point, Xie urged them never to underestimate the power of mere pennies. Many coins, when taken together, can be used to help people and make a difference. Volunteers then performed the Tzu Chi song “Our World Is Full of Love.” The soft melody moved some people to tears.

The volunteers had prepared enough snacks and toys for 50 children, as well as 50 winter vests for the elderly. A 90-year-old woman who had received a vest said to the volunteers, “Thank you so much. I’ve never seen a distribution that was so touching.” One young woman said cheerfully that she was grateful to Tzu Chi and everyone else there because every family had received much needed eating utensils and pans.

The distribution benefited 650 people. Xie was happy that the city government had given the foundation this opportunity to do something for the local people. He added that though the distributed goods might one day wear out, the love and care would remain with them forever.

Tzu Chi volunteers held a winter distribution of eating utensils, pans, and blankets for underserved people in Nogales, Chile.  Courtesy Of Tzu Chi Chile


An outbreak of H1N1 influenza began in Myanmar in July. By mid-August, it had claimed 27 lives.

Soon after the epidemic broke out, Tzu Chi volunteers in Myanmar purchased masks and hand sanitizers for teachers and students at 20 schools to help them fend off infections. Volunteers in Malaysia also shipped N95 respirator masks and rapid influenza detection kits to help fight the disease. These supplies were given to hospitals where Tzu Chi members regularly volunteer.

Though the outbreak was being brought under control, experts feared that the rainy season could trigger more cases. Furthermore, there were not enough masks, isolation gowns, or other supplies in Myanmar, so medical workers were being exposed to undue risks of infection.

Fearing for the safety of frontline medical personnel, Myanmar health authorities wrote a letter on August 2 to Tzu Chi headquarters in Taiwan asking for assistance in expertise and more resources to help them combat the disease. As soon as they received the request, the foundation went to work.

Four Tzu Chi hospitals in Taiwan together contributed 2,000 isolation gowns, over 3,000 influenza detection kits, and supplies of Tamilflu antiviral medicine, among other medical items. Tzu Chi headquarters additionally donated 3,689 kilograms of instant rice for medical workers so they could keep up their strength. Tzu Chi Malaysia was put in charge of obtaining 10,000 medical gloves and 40,000 respirator masks, which were then shipped to Myanmar.

On August 10, Dr. Lin Chin-lon (林俊龍), CEO of the Tzu Chi Medical Mission, and three other Tzu Chi doctors flew from Taiwan to Myanmar. They visited major hospitals in Yangon to exchange ideas and experiences about epidemic control. They also donated medical supplies prepared by Tzu Chi to Myanmar government officials.

In response to an H1N1 influenza outbreak in Myanmar, Dr. Lin Chin-lon, CEO of the Tzu Chi Medical Mission, and three other Tzu Chi doctors from Taiwan visited major hospitals in Yangon to exchange epidemic-fighting experience. The team also donated medical supplies to the nation.  Huang Lu-fa

The United States

The Tzu Chi U.S. headquarters held a mobile food pantry and back-to-school distribution at Alhambra High School in Alhambra, California, on August 5. The event was held in conjunction with the Alhambra Unified School District, the YMCA, and the City of Alhambra. Tzu Chi volunteers, police, students and teachers of the school, members of the YMCA, and employees of local businesses, 346 in all, came together to help 753 underprivileged families.

Tan Jian-fen (譚建芬), the emcee, kicked off the distribution by thanking all the kind-hearted people for their donations of fresh produce, backpacks, shoes, etc. Next, Jane Anderson, president of the Alhambra Unified School District Board of Education, Congresswoman Judy May Chu, and California State Assemblyman Ed Chau presented certificates of appreciation to Tzu Chi for its years of community service.

Every recipient family received 33 to 44 pounds of food, enough to last a family of four a week. Volunteers had lined up many carts to take distributed goods to the cars of the recipients. The volunteers became very sweaty pushing the carts back and forth under the hot sun, but they enjoyed the work very much.

This was the first distribution in which Timothy Vu, the city’s police chief, had taken part. He said that this event reminded him of his penniless childhood. His parents had immigrated to the United States, and they had led hard lives, at times relying on aid to survive. Now, seeing the smiles on the faces of the children, he thanked the many young people who had come out to help the underprivileged. He believed that the kindness that had been displayed at the distribution would stay with these families forever. He felt honored to work with Tzu Chi, and he said he was already looking forward to working at the next distribution.

Diego was the first student to receive his backpack. He could not wait to see what goods had been placed inside. He exclaimed with joy every time he took out an item, and he screamed “Oh my God!” when he saw a multifunctional calculator. He and his brother were being raised by their single mother, Silva. She had brought them there at seven that morning. She said with a smile, “The kids are so excited. It makes me very happy. I want to thank Tzu Chi for its help.”

Stephanie was another single mother, raising six children without a home. She was thankful that the city government had informed people like her that good people would come to help them, but she had not expected to receive so much, including food, backpacks, and school supplies. She appreciated the generosity. “We really need the help. Thank you so much.”

Tzu Chi U.S. headquarters sponsored a distribution of fresh vegetables, fruits, school supplies, and $15 prepaid cards to purchase shoes, for underprivileged students in Alhambra, California.  Yan Guo-xing


Fall 2017