Tzu Chi Events Around the World


Many destitute people in Cambodia cannot afford to install lighting or pay the electric bills. They rely on natural light during the day, and candlelight at night. To make life easier for some of these underprivileged people, Tzu Chi volunteers held two distributions of solar panel lighting sets in July. Rice was given out as well at those events. One distribution was held on July 7 for residents of Posenchey and Kombol, both in Phnom Penh, the national capital. Three hundred twenty-five families received lighting kits and 411 families received rice.

When volunteers visited the households on the recipient roster before the distribution to confirm those on the list, the residents repeatedly thanked them for reducing their burden and providing the light sets—the equipment would make it easier for their children to study at night. Recipients and volunteers alike were happy that the solar panel sets would help create a better studying environment for the children.

More than 30 volunteers gathered before the event to package the lighting kits. Every light bulb was tested to make sure it worked before it was put into a box. Hsieh Ming-hsuan (謝明勳) the head of Tzu Chi Cambodia, demonstrated to the volunteers how to set up the kits so that they would be able to help recipients put together the light sets on the day of the distribution.

On the day of the event, volunteers arrived at the venue in Kombol at 6:30 a.m. Though it was still early, they found that dozens of villagers had already arrived and were waiting for the distribution to start. This showed just how much they were looking forward to receiving the items. Volunteers lined up and sang to welcome attendees. Steamed buns were served so that villagers who hadn’t had breakfast could warm up their stomachs. The atmosphere was cordial.

During the event, volunteers explained to the crowd how to install the equipment. Volunteer Zhong Chuan-yu (鍾釧玉) had drawn a user’s guide on a piece of paper and copies were distributed to the villagers to help them better understand how to install the devices.

Tep Bros, a 54-year-old recipient, said that though there was electricity in his home, the service was costly. His family was not well-off, and the lighting kit would save them a lot of money. They also wouldn’t have to worry when there was a blackout. “I never expected to receive such a good thing. I’m really very happy,” he said.

Another recipient, Tep Sarann, said that they had no electricity at home and had to rely on candlelight at night. Her children had to go to a neighbor’s home and use the lights there to do their homework. “Now with the solar lighting from Tzu Chi, my kids will be able to study and do homework at home,” she said cheerfully.

Volunteer You Hui-lian (游慧蓮) said that when she visited the families before the distribution, she realized just how much they needed the solar panel sets. Some of the families’ houses were built with straw and wooden boards, and using candles to provide illumination was a fire hazard. She felt the lighting kits would improve the recipients’ lives and help those families who have electricity at home reduce their electricity expenses.

On July 7, Tzu Chi volunteers held a distribution of rice and solar panel sets to residents of Posenchey and Kombol, Cambodia. Huang Shu-zhen


On July 13, Tzu Chi Canada held a free medical event during which San Fu Tie herbal patches were applied to about 500 residents in the Greater Toronto Area.

San Fu Tie is a type of treatment used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The treatment involves adhesive patches containing medicine made from a mixture of herbs being placed on various acupuncture points on a patient’s body on three specific days in the summer, based on the lunar calendar. The pores on the skin open easily during summer, when the weather is the hottest, allowing the herbal medicine to enter the body more easily and achieve the best effect. This therapy is believed to be effective in treating seasonal allergies, respiratory ailments, and other conditions.

Tzu Chi Canada had provided San Jiu Tie treatment for volunteers in January. This treatment is similar to San Fu Tie but is applied in the winter. Many volunteers said that their allergies had improved after the treatment. When the season to apply San Fu Tie approached, Tzu Chi Canada decided to expand the service to include community residents so that more people could benefit.

Volunteers promoted their event through channels including social media. Many people signed up after learning about the event.

The activity was held in conjunction with the Tzu Chi Clinic of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Humber College Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner program, and the Canada chapter of the Tzu Chi International Medical Association. Eight doctors, 13 TCM students from Humber College, and 65 volunteers served 503 people at the event.

Although San Fu Tie treatment is non-invasive, it doesn’t suit all people, so the people who came for the treatment had to be first examined and diagnosed by the doctors. The examination also helped the doctors decide which acupuncture points to use when affixing the herbal patches on a patient.

Patients who were treated on July 13 were required to attend two additional sessions, scheduled for July 20 and August 10.

Tzu Chi Canada held a San Fu Tie herbal patch treatment event on July 13 to help improve people’s health. Zheng Wei-yuan  


Tzu Chi volunteers in Myanmar started distributing rice congee to hospital patients in 2016 when they discovered that some of the patients were too poor to afford regular meals. One of the hospitals that has been receiving this service is North Okkalapa Hospital, located in North Okkalapa Township, Yangon. The hospital can accommodate 1,500 patients, and many impoverished people from remote rural areas receive treatment there. For the last three years, volunteers have distributed congee, bread, and eggs there every Friday.

One patient, Kyi Kyi Thein, told Tzu Chi volunteers on their July 5 visit that she had had to cut down on other expenses to pay her hospital bill, and was therefore very grateful for Tzu Chi’s free meal service. A woman who had just given birth to twins expressed the same sentiments. She said that her family was not doing well financially, and so she was delighted to receive the free, nutritious food from Tzu Chi.

Some family members volunteered to help deliver food to patients. Some even gave their contact information to Tzu Chi volunteers, saying that they wanted to join their ranks.

Volunteer Liu Su-ying (劉素英) pointed out that many patients at the hospital are poor and really need the meal service. She has seen patients eat the congee distributed by Tzu Chi for breakfast and save the eggs and bread for dinner to save money. She used to complain about her life, but volunteering for Tzu Chi and witnessing the lives of underprivileged people has taught her to count her blessings.

Volunteer Li Qiu-lan (李秋蘭) and her employees are in charge of preparing the congee and eggs. They get up at four every Friday morning to cook. They prepare the congee in three large pots, which can feed more than a thousand people. The nutritious congee contains vegetables such as corn, carrots, mushrooms, and Jew’s ear (a sort of edible fungus). Li said that she doesn’t feel that getting up early every Friday to prepare the food is hard work. Instead, she feels blessed because she is healthy enough to serve others.

Tzu Chi volunteers in Myanmar go to North Okkalapa Hospital every Friday to distribute congee, bread, and eggs to patients. Photo courtesy of Tzu Chi Myanmar


A groundbreaking ceremony was held on July 1 for 500 permanent homes Tzu Chi was building for people who had lost their homes to a devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck central Sulawesi in September 2018.

The foundation had launched another reconstruction project earlier this year, with more than 1,300 housing units planned for survivors of the same catastrophes. On March 18, Muhammad Irwan Lapata, the regent of Sigi Regency, visited the Tzu Chi Indonesia office and expressed his hope that the foundation could also build permanent homes for earthquake victims in his regency. The regent explained that the September 2018 temblor had devastated private homes and public infrastructure in Sigi and dealt a hard blow to the local economy. Most survivors were still living in temporary shelters or tents. He had been seeking assistance from government and nongovernmental sectors after the disaster, hoping to help the lives of people in his regency return to normal as soon as possible.

On April 6, the regent and his team visited the Tzu Chi office again to further discuss the project and sign a memorandum of understanding for cooperation. The foundation had decided to build, in the first phase, 500 housing units for quake survivors in Sigi. The government will provide the land and install plumbing and electricity for the new homes, which will be in the village of Pombewe in Sigi. Henri Kusuma Rombe, the head of the Public Works and Public Housing Office of Sigi Regency, cited statistics in the meeting to explain that Pombewe was safe area, very suitable for the construction of permanent housing. The Sigi government hopes to have a total of 1,587 housing units built there to accommodate survivors from four villages.

Ground was broken for the 500 housing units on July 1. Government officials and Tzu Chi volunteers attended the ceremony together. The homes to be built will be earthquake-resistant and each 36 square meters (390 square foot) in area. Dr. H. Wiranto, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, thanked all sectors of society for working together to help the disaster areas recover. He pointed out that only with the cooperation from all quarters—including the central government, local governments, private organizations, and the general public—would it be possible to complete thousands of homes in a short time.

Andi, a quake victim, expressed his joy at attending the groundbreaking ceremony. “Our home was destroyed in the quake last year,” he said, “but we do not have the ability to rebuild it. Our entire family now lives in tents. This reconstruction project has really brought us hope. I’m overjoyed!”

Dr. H. Wiranto, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, laid the first stone for the foundation at a groundbreaking ceremony for a Tzu Chi housing reconstruction project for quake victims in Sigi Regency, central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Anand Yahya


After Ecuador was hit by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in April 2016, Tzu Chi rebuilt a church destroyed in the temblor in the town of Canoa in San Vicente, Manabí Province. The newly constructed church was inaugurated on July 13, 2019.

The reconstruction project included not just the church itself, but living quarters for priests and nuns, classrooms for children’s Bible studies, and vocational training classrooms. About 700 people attended the grand opening ceremony. Many local residents were present to witness this important moment for their community. Bishop Eduardo José Castillo Pino, the apostolic administrator of Portoviejo, and Rosanna Cevallos, the mayor of San Vicente, were among the distinguished guests who spoke and thanked Tzu Chi during the ceremony.

Ramon Rosado, born and raised in Canoa, lived with 30 family members in the town. He had watched as the new church was built from scratch and was deeply touched. To celebrate the joyous inauguration, he composed six songs for Tzu Chi and performed them with his band at the ceremony. Their performance greatly warmed up the atmosphere.

Boris Garcia was the contractor for the church reconstruction project. He had learned about Tzu Chi when the foundation was carrying out post-earthquake relief efforts in the country. Impressed by the love and sincerity of the Tzu Chi volunteers, he had started training to become a certified Tzu Chi volunteer. He took over the church reconstruction project in April 2018, when the original contractor failed to make adequate progress after the groundbreaking ceremony in March 2017. Now, with the project successfully completed, he could proudly say, “Mission accomplished!”

Julián Zamora was the chief engineer for the project. He had thought the church was very beautiful as it was being built, so he wanted to be the first groom married there when it was completed. To that end, he secretly planned to propose to his girlfriend during the opening ceremony. When he made the marriage proposal onstage during the event, the gathered crowd broke into loud cheers. Amidst applause and cheers, Zamora and his fiancée walked through an arch of long-stemmed roses held aloft by Tzu Chi volunteers.

Tzu Chi volunteers from America, including members of the U.S. chapter of the Tzu Chi International Medical Association, not only attended the event but conducted free clinics for people in Canoa and San Mateo, in the city of Manta, Manabí Province. The free clinics were held from July 13 to 16. Joined by medical professionals from Ecuador, they served more than 2,700 patient visits.

The foundation will continue to extend love to the country, and it also hopes that more local people will join in to serve their own people.

Tzu Chi undertook a church reconstruction project for the town of Canoa in Ecuador after an earthquake in 2016. An inauguration ceremony for the church was held on July 13, 2019. Jaime Puerta


Tzu Chi Zimbabwe held two distributions for local impoverished people on July 5 and 13.

The first distribution took place at Maulana Orphanage School in Epworth, about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the city center of Harare, the national capital. Three-fourths of the school’s students are orphans. Tzu Chi began extending aid to the school in 2006. Seven hundred twenty-six students benefited from the distribution, receiving supplies including rice, multi-grain powder, blankets, and soap.

During the event, native Tzu Chi volunteers shared with the audience how Tzu Chi had changed their lives with love. Tino Chu (朱金財), the head of Tzu Chi Zimbabwe, encouraged everyone to do good and help each other. Volunteers hoped to give more than just material supplies to the needy; they also wanted to give them hope by inspiring the love in their hearts. Jane Limbo, a parent who had come to the distribution, said that the event taught her how important mutual help was in people’s lives.

The other distribution was conducted in Hatfield, located in the south of Harare. When younger people at the venue saw Tzu Chi volunteers unloading rice from a truck, they pitched in of their own accord to help. Some villagers broke into a song while waiting for the distribution to begin, thanking Tzu Chi volunteers for their help with their singing. Four hundred eighty-five people showed up to receive aid. They were from destitute, disadvantaged families, and some were physically disabled. A local community leader pointed out that Tzu Chi’s aid was important to the villagers because most of them could afford only one or two meals a day.

Tambudzai Mufuka joined Tzu Chi as a volunteer in 2013. She had worked hard to help ensure that the distribution went smoothly. She was sad to see so many local people in need of help, but was happy that Tzu Chi was around to help ease their lives.

Priscilla Nhamo, a 72-year-old aid recipient, had been a teacher when she was younger. She’s been confined to a wheelchair for the past 15 years, and she has depended on her daughter for care ever since her husband passed away. Unfortunately, her daughter can’t work because she has to take care of her. The community leader expressed hope that Tzu Chi could continue to provide aid for underserved people like Nhamo.

The items distributed at this event included rice and soap. Villagers returned home happy after the event ended.

Tzu Chi volunteers held a distribution at Maulana Orphanage School in Epworth, Zimbabwe, on July 5. Supplies such as blankets and rice were distributed to over 700 students. Photo courtesy of Tzu Chi Zimbabwe


September 2019