Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

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Aug 26th
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Daily Necessities to 1,100 Families in Mean Chey of Cambodia

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In two rural villages of Cambodia, volunteers of the Tzu Chi Foundation gave rice and other daily necessities to more than 1,100 families. The first distribution was held on October 31 last year and the second on January 7 this year.

In Cambodia, there are two distinct seasons: the rainy season runs from May to October and the dry season from November to April, when temperatures can rise to as much as 40 °C (104 °F). During the rainy season, water raises to such a level that residents have either to travel in small boats or walk in the water. Houses are built on high stilts to stay dry.

Last October, as part of their charity efforts, Tzu Chi volunteers held rice distributions for poor villages near the capital, Phnom Penh. They discovered that, due to several years of bad harvest, life in village Preak Takong 1, also known as water spinach village in Cambodian, had deteriorated. The people of the village mainly grow water spinach to support their life. However, the harvest depends on weather; it has been tough for farmers in recent years. This January, volunteers decided to hold a distribution for the village, which is in Khan Meanchey District.

While giving out receipts for the relief goods before the distribution, volunteers noticed a mother with two young children on her arms who was not listed as a recipient. They conducted a house visit to understand the needs of the family and found that they had only recently moved into the village. Their home is a shabby structure built of simple wooden boards. Seeing their needs, volunteers filled up an empty slip in order for the family to receive the goods.

On January 7, the day of the distribution, the volunteers arrived at the site just before six in the morning to set up the distribution site. Although there are only a small number of Tzu Chi volunteers in Cambodia, a group of young people came to help and serve their fellow citizens. They were there not only to assist in the distribution but also to learn the principles of Tzu Chi -- gratitude, respect and love.

“This is the second time we have worked with Tzu Chi,” said Mr. Long Nget, the deputy governor of Khan Meanchey district. “I thank Master Cheng Yen and Tzu Chi volunteers for helping my people. Not only that, the concept of a bamboo bank that they shared with us has inspired us that we are also able to help others in need.”
“Thank you, Tzu Chi, for bringing us the goods. They are a great help to us,” said one resident.

In the distribution, Tzu Chi gave rice and daily necessities, including salt and sugar, to 343 families and hoped to satisfy their urgent needs. On October 31, 2015, the first distribution in Mongkol Oukdom Village had benefitted 766 families.