Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Apr 02nd
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Home Our Missions Mission of Charity Tzu Chi Delivers Winter Aid to Thousands Across China - Guizhou

Tzu Chi Delivers Winter Aid to Thousands Across China - Guizhou

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Tzu Chi Delivers Winter Aid to Thousands Across China
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A decade of winter relief in Guizhou
In the mountainous southwest, Guizhou is one of the poorest provinces in China. Tzu Chi Foundation has been providing winter relief there for more than 10 years. This year it delivered rice, winter clothes, blankets and other necessities to 18,000 people in several rural areas. Members of the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) also provided consultations to 1,660 people in three days, with many local doctors participating.

On the morning of January 16, more than 7,000 residents of Dongjia township were lining up to receive the aid; some walked up to two hours to get there. The kits contained rice, vaseline, winter clothes, blankets and other necessities, which the volunteers handed over, as always, with a bow. The clothes will help to protect the residents from the winds that batter their mountain homes during the winter. Volunteer Chen Meiqian, from Hong Kong, was in charge of reception and registration; it was her first visit to Guizhou since joining the foundation in 2001. She greeted everyone with a heartwarming smile. “They all said thanks to us for coming out of our way but I told them we are only doing what we should,” she said. “Seeing them happy, we are happy too.” One of the recipients was Luo Fengzhen, a grandmother who is raising her two grandchildren on her own, because their parents are away working. She walked nearly two hours to reach the distribution centre. The three bags of rice she received covered the shortfall from last year’s harvest. With effective planning and teamwork, the 90 volunteers – from Taiwan and other parts of China – were able to finish the distribution in only one morning.

The TIMA doctors held their clinic at the same time as the distribution. When volunteers noticed that someone was sick, they stepped forward to attend to them. One was Cao Longhua, a 70-year-old grandfather. A volunteer saw a wound on his head that was bleeding, although he was trying to act normally. “My health is failing as I am getting older,” he explained. “I felt dizzy yesterday and had a bad fall.” It happened the day before; because he could not afford a doctor, he had lived with the pain and the wound. The staff at the clinic sutured the wound and the pain began to subside. TIMA doctor Hong Hongdian, who works in the south of Taiwan, said that he knew Guizhou was very poor. “I have seen documentaries by brother Gao (about life in Guizhou). This place really needs us.” Dr Hong has participated in countless Tzu Chi free clinics all over the world and has refined the kit he carries so that it contains the material that is most needed. Also taking part was Dr Zhang Yulin, superintendent of Tzu Chi’s hospital in Yuli, southeast Taiwan. With the help of these volunteers, residents were able to get rid of pain and afflictions that had plagued them for years.

Then the volunteers and the residents shared a lunch of hot pot, a way of welcoming them into the greater Tzu Chi family. At the end, they handed out blessing cards from Master Cheng Yen and bamboo coin banks. “Tzu Chi started decades ago, with 30 people each donating NT$50 cents each day,” said volunteer Chen Huixiong. “The money was then used to help others, which has grown into the Tzu Chi you see today.” Inspired by this story, each resident was happy to take one home. They know that, while they are one of the poorest provinces in China, they too can help others and build up their own blessings.

Local doctors join TIMA clinic
During the relief distribution, more than a dozen doctors and nurses from local hospitals joined the free clinics. One of them was held in the mountainous district of Luodian, where Dr Yang Zaiyong was treating patients. Yang, 30, was born in Luodian and, after completing his training, was posted to a well-paid position at a hospital in the provincial capital, Guiyang. It was a major achievement for a local doctor. But, in 2007, he decided to return to his hometown and work in its county hospital. “Life is not about making the most money. This is my hometown. We all know how backward this area is. So I thought I should apply what I have learnt and serve my hometown.” Seeing that Tzu Chi shared his ideals, he volunteered to join the TIMA clinic. Alongside him was Dr Wei Yuan, assistant director of pediatrics at the Luodian Chinese Medical Clinic. One of the few female doctors in Luodian, she cares deeply about the limited access of local people to health care. She met Tzu Chi more than five years ago and has participated in all its free clinics since. “We wanted to do this earlier but there was not a venue available. Tzu Chi’s free clinics have made our dreams come true. Everyone wants to do good deeds.” She has slowly seen changes taking place around her. “In the beginning, I was the only local doctor taking part. But, with each free clinic, more and more began to participate. Now many from the larger county and town hospitals come to help.” As the number of patients at TIMA clinics has increased, so has the number of local doctors and nurses. Among them was Xu Jian, a young and well-dressed practitioner of Chinese medicine. “My parents live in a similar environment. Seeing this stirs emotions inside me. I feel sad for these people.” This year, with the addition of TIMA volunteers, the number of counters at the clinics increased from three to eight, providing patients with quick and efficient service. “Last year the free clinics could only accommodate about 200 patients a day,” said volunteer Wang Tianwei. “This year, in Dongjia alone, we served 630 patients and were finished before one in the afternoon.”

Also helping were local young men who put on the Tzu Chi vest to help the old and weak take their relief supplies home. They included people who had received scholarships from Tzu Chi and wished to repay the charity they had received. “The scholarship was very helpful,” said Jian Wangxiang, a college student from Pingyan. He has been receiving aid for three years and is a freshman in art at Kaili College in Guiyang. “We are just students from farming families. Although our parents pay for our tuition, we can with Tzu Chi’s help do more both academically and in life. I am willing to do whatever I can to help. After all, the uncles and aunties of Tzu Chi have helped us so much.”

After a decade of winter relief, the spirit of the foundation is being embraced by local people. The distributions feel increasingly like a family gathering. Everyone is doing their part to improve the lives of people in this barren region of China.


The Beauty of the Jing Si Abode


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