Tzu Chi Events Around the World


Tzu Chi volunteers in Yunnan Province conducted four winter aid distributions in Huize County on January 11 and 12. Rice, cooking oil, comforters, jackets, and undergarments were distributed to 1,959 needy families (6,073 people).

The weather was very cold on the days the events were held. Volunteers served participating villagers hot ginger tea and led them in group activities to help them warm up. Other volunteers applied lotion to villagers’ weathered hands. Volunteers interacted warmly with aid recipients, hoping to convey to them the love from Tzu Chi.

Tian Zhaoneng (田朝能), an aid recipient, was born with a physical disability. He lived with his elder brother, the brother’s wife, and their two daughters. Tian’s brother had become disabled too after suffering a brain injury while working in the field, and his wife had mental illness. Tian had come alone on this day to pick up everything for his family. After he had received his goods, volunteers helped him put on a jacket he had just received, and then helped him carry all his goods to the place where he would take transportation home. He told the volunteers that the distributed items would be very useful. He thanked Tzu Chi and the volunteers profusely.

Xu Zhenggao (余正高), a visually impaired elderly man, also came alone to pick up his goods. Three volunteers carried his goods for him and accompanied him back home, a walk of more than 20 minutes. One of the volunteers, Chang Guanhua (常冠花), said that she had participated in several Tzu Chi winter distributions, and that she could see that the aid delivered by Tzu Chi really met the needs of the villagers, especially impoverished seniors. The supplies undoubtedly helped them have a warmer winter.

This was the first time Tang Xiuying (唐秀英), 62, had volunteered in a Tzu Chi winter distribution. She said she was happy to give to the underserved while she still could. She had learned to smile more often after joining Tzu Chi, which helped spread happiness to more people.

Residents came empty-handed and returned home happily laden with goods. Despite the cold weather, a current of warmth and love flowed through the recipients and volunteers alike.

Four Tzu Chi winter distributions were held in Huize County, Yunnan Province, China, on January 11 and 12. In all, 1,959 families received assistance over those two days. Liu Ying

The Philippines

Taal Volcano in the province of Batangas, Luzon Island, erupted on January 12, and thousands of families had to be evacuated. According to the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 244 evacuation centers had been set up in 20 cities or towns by January 16. Tzu Chi volunteers set out for affected areas on January 17 to evaluate the situation. Divided into four groups, they visited evacuation centers in six towns. Based on their findings, and after meeting with government officials, they decided to focus their aid on the town of Tuy.

Mayor Armando Afable told the volunteers that many organizations had donated supplies to evacuation centers, but because most organizations hadn’t coordinated their efforts with the government, many of the items they provided didn’t meet the needs of the evacuees. The mayor then provided a reference list of needed supplies to the volunteers.

Volunteers quickly began to prepare and purchase needed items. They visited Tuy again on January 28 and distributed the aid to 610 families. Among the supplies were eating utensils, hygiene kits, rice, and blankets.

Adela Magsino, an aid recipient, cried when Tzu Chi volunteers led a prayer. She was touched that Tzu Chi, a Buddhist organization, would help people of a different religion. Pelagia Pasingin, 76, told volunteers that her only source of income was providing massage services. She had been put temporarily out of work due to the volcanic eruption but she still needed to provide for her grandson, who suffered from cataracts and a mild mental disease. She was therefore very grateful for Tzu Chi’s help.

Marcelo Manuel, a volunteer, thanked the foundation for allowing him to participate in the relief operation. He said he wasn’t able to donate goods for the needy, but he was still able to give his time and strength. He said he identified deeply with the spirit of Great Love espoused by Tzu Chi, and so he felt very good about being able to volunteer for Tzu Chi.


Tzu Chi volunteers in the Gold Coast raised AUD$220,000 (US$145,079) and donated a fire truck to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) on January 10. This was to help combat the recent devastating wildfires in Australia.

Eleven Tzu Chi volunteers from the Gold Coast and Brisbane went to the QFES on January 10 to donate the fire truck. QFES Assistant Commissioner John Bolger and staff received the volunteers. Together with others, the assistant commissioner pasted a Tzu Chi logo on the truck to symbolize that Tzu Chi would always be with the firefighters.

The truck has a capacity of seven firefighters and can carry 1,600 liters of water. It can draw water from dams, creeks, pools, and most other water sources. It also has a fire-retardant foam system in which fire-suppressing foam can be mixed in various ratios with water to provide a greater smothering effect.

On January 20, another team of volunteers visited the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and donated AUD$220,000 for the purchase of another fire truck.

In response to the recent rampant wildfires in Australia, Tzu Chi volunteers from the Gold Coast and Brisbane donated a fire truck to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services on January 10. Peng Yun-hua


A fire caused by faulty wiring broke out in La Granja, Santiago, in the early morning of December 31, 2019. Five people were killed, two injured, and 70 people affected. Tzu Chi volunteers visited the affected area the following day to assess damage and determine what assistance they could render.

Volunteers met a young man during their trip and learned that he had lost three family members to the fire. The man’s elder sister, her husband, and one of their children had died. The man said that his sister had a daughter and a physically disabled son. The daughter, 17, was the first one to notice the fire and quickly alerted her family. She escaped unharmed, but her parents and brother unfortunately didn’t make it out. Her parents were probably trying to get their son out when they perished.

Other residents said that the fire raged for about two hours before it was extinguished. The fire spread quickly because the surrounding houses were built of wood. Survivors began cleaning up after the accident with the help of neighbors, relatives, and friends.

After assessing survivors’ needs, volunteers set about purchasing the items they needed most. The items included shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, detergent, deodorants, razors, and combs. A distribution was held on January 2, benefiting 62 people in 22 families.

A survivor said, “Material goods lost in the fire can be replaced, but lives lost are gone forever. We are grateful we’re still alive.” With help from society, fire victims have bravely embarked on the path to reconstruction.

Volunteers in Chile held a distribution for fire victims in La Granja, Santiago, on January 2, 2020. Twenty-two families benefited. Courtesy of Tzu Chi Chile


There is no doubt that plastic bags have been causing serious pollution problems around the world, and many countries have taken measures to address this issue. Thailand, for example, began year 2020 with a ban on single-use plastic bags at major stores. Tzu Chi Thailand decided to support this policy by no longer giving away plastic bags at the pharmacy of the two free clinic events held every month at the Tzu Chi office in Bangkok. The decision was first implemented on January 19. Volunteers prepared many reusable shopping bags for people who came to the free clinic on that day and who needed a bag to take their medicines home.

Tzu Chi has always been a great supporter of environmental protection. In the five years since the free clinic services were launched for refugees from different countries, volunteers have encouraged patients to be environmentally conscious. This includes encouraging patients to recycle to help reduce the amount of garbage produced.

Tzu Chi volunteer Chen Li-jing (陳麗晶) said, “Our volunteers brought these reusable bags from home so that our patients can use them to carry home the prescriptions they’ve received. These are bags the volunteers can spare, made of materials like paper or fabric.”

Some patients said to the volunteers that they would bring the bags they had received to the next free clinic. Others had brought their own bags. However, many patients still did not know the pharmacy had stopped giving out plastic bags. This pushed volunteers to step up their efforts to spread the news. They hoped that the next time patients came for services, they would bring their own bags and help the Earth become cleaner.

To support the Thai government’s policy to cut down on the use of one-use plastic bags, Tzu Chi Thailand stopped giving away plastic bags at the pharmacy of the two free clinic events held every month at the Tzu Chi office in Bangkok. The two patients pictured here brought their own bags to the free clinic on January 19. Huang Juan


Tzu Chi volunteers have visited refugee camps in Serbia every winter without fail since 2016 to distribute winter clothes. This year, a team of volunteers from eight countries visited five camps, from January 10 to 14. They brought clothes to 3,800 refugees in Obrenovac, Krnjača, Adaševci, Šid, and Principovac.

Many refugees hugged the volunteers the moment they saw them. Many were still wearing clothes distributed by Tzu Chi last winter. Reza, a refugee who arrived at the Krnjača camp from Iraq a year before, stepped forward to greet and thank the volunteers as soon as he saw them. He had received clothes from Tzu Chi the year before, and he said that the garments were made of very good material and had stayed warm despite repeated washings. He had used the clothes with care to make them last.

Adult and children’s clothes were arranged by size at the venues to make distribution easier. Some refugees immediately put on the new clothes they had received. Volunteer Susan Chen (陳樹微) noticed that some laundry hanging out to dry at the Obrenovac camp was frozen over. She was glad that Tzu Chi could provide refugees with clothes to help keep them warm.

Volunteers also held two blessing ceremonies during this trip, at the Krnjača and Adaševci camps, to convey their best wishes to refugees on behalf of Master Cheng Yen.

Over the years, Tzu Chi has provided regular meals, summer and winter clothes, school supplies, and other aid for refugees in Serbia. The foundation hopes the displaced people feel a sense of hope and love through this assistance.

Volunteer Zhang Rong-fu (張榮富) interacts with children at the KrnjaËa camp in Serbia while on a visit there to distribute winter clothes. Kang Hui-qing


March 2020