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Home Feature Stories Typhoon Morakot Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Great Love Estate

Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Great Love Estate

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It has been 100 days since Typhoon Morakot devastated Southern Taiwan. On November 15, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Great Love Estate in Shanlin Township, Kaohsiung County is held with the attendance of President Ma Ying-jeou, Premier Wu Den-yih, Governor Yang Chiu-hsing of Kaohsiung County and Vice President Lin Bi-yu of the Tzu Chi Foundation. The first phase of the construction work consists of 600 homes and will be completed in February 2010.

The devastating flood united the kindness and compassion from the people in Taiwan. As of November 15, Tzu Chi Foundation has delivered emergency cash to over 26,000 households, provided over 700,000 hot meals, and mobilized over 160,000 volunteers to assist with the clean-up work and to comfort the affected residents. Volunteer teachers have also been sent to schools to accompany the students and teachers in disaster areas.

Dharma Master Cheng Yen, the founder of Tzu Chi Foundation, proposed to build permanent homes for the affected residents instead of prefabricated homes. She envisioned the affected residents would settle down permanently instead of having to live in prefabricated homes for the time-being. After coordination with the affected residents and the central and local governments, Tzu Chi will be building permanent homes on a piece of land located next to Shanlin Junior High School. This piece of property will become the future location of the Great Love Estate in Shanlin Township. This estate will provide a peaceful and safe living environment for the residents as well as preserve the tribal traditions and cultures.

The buildings in the Great Love Estate consist of light weight steel structure, can withstand scale 17 wind and magnitude 8 earthquakes and will last at least 50 years. Each unit is part of a duplex, with either 28 or 34 ping in size (approximately 1000 or 1200 square feet). Each unit consists of two levels, with three bedrooms, one living room, one dining room, two bathrooms and a kitchen. On the first floor, there is a room specifically designed to accommodate the elderly in the household. There are also smaller units with 14 ping of space (approximately 500 square feet) that are suitable for smaller families.

Tzu Chi respects each community’s traditions and cultures; therefore, the buildings will be built according to the needs and traditions of each community. Tzu Chi will build community recreation center, local government office and medical clinic in each community, depending on each tribe’s needs and traditions. A religion center will be built depending on the religious belief of each tribe.
A plaza will be built to display the aboriginal culture and increase the income of local residents. Tzu Chi proposes to establish arts and crafts center in each tribe as well as to provide career training guidance to local residents. Tzu Chi believes that it is important to preserve the traditions and cultures of each tribe.

Tzu Chi Foundation has started a temporary employment program (as part of its relief program) and recruited local residents to participate in the program. Over 750 local residents are currently participating in the program to assist with preparing land for construction, planting trees and beautifying the environment. This program not only provides income for the local residents, it also provides a way to help the residents get back on their feet and increase the efficiency of the construction work.

The Great Love Estate in Shanlin Township is the culmination of the local residents’ determination to protect the environment and to find a place for permanent settlement. It is also an evidence of the love from global Tzu Chi members.

As November 15 is the 100th day after Typhoon Morakot struck Taiwan, the groundbreaking ceremony is held on this day to demonstrate the kindness and compassion from everyone and to signify a future filled with Great Love.

Written by Tzu Chi Taiwan Headquarters Secretarial Services Department
Translated by Grace Chen

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The Beauty of the Jing Si Abode

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" The future is an illusion, the past is a memory. Hold on to the goodness that is in our heart at this present moment and take care to fulfill the duties that we have at hand. "
Jing-Si Aphorism