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Home Global Activities Europe In Poland, Tzu Chi and Opole City Join to Help Ukrainians

In Poland, Tzu Chi and Opole City Join to Help Ukrainians

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Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the Polish government and people have opened their arms and their hearts to welcome Ukrainian people. The war has raged for more than 100 days and has not subsided. It has caused economic turmoil in Europe and across the work – posing great challenges to refugee aid work.


Good Affinity from Taiwan

On June 14 and 15, 2022, Tzu Chi distributed a total of 1,165 gift cards to Ukrainian people who fled to the city of Opole in southern Poland. This good affinity came from a Taiwanese, Lola Chen, who married a Polish husband.

During Chen’s work in procurement, she met a Polish entrepreneur named Radek Atlas, and then was transferred to Poland. The two married in 2000 and have two daughters. They lead a happy family life.

The couple have a successful career and are willing to give back. They provide scholarships and stipends to students in need every year, and have a good relationship with the city government.

The Tripartite Cooperation

Knowing that Tzu Chi was assisting Ukrainian people in Poland, and that many Ukrainians had fled to Opole, Chen wanted to help. Thus she took the initiative to contact Tzu Chi, and arranged a three-party cooperation between Tzu Chi and the city government of Opole to help the Ukraine people together.

The city government not only provided the distribution venue and the list of care recipients but also sent employees to support it. The city government and Mr. Atlas jointly prepared computers for distribution work and cash-for-work expenses for local Ukrainian volunteers; even they helped to deliver the blankets from Warsaw to Opole.

Chen Devotes Herself to Volunteering

Lola Chen also went to the venue herself to join the ranks of volunteers. She said: "I have been living in Poland for 28 years. I am very happy that I can work with Tzu Chi to help Ukrainian people this time. I hope the distribution will be a complete success."

When the care recipients entered the stadium, she greeted them warmly; she brought them water and cups as a gesture of welcome.

Six Distributions in Two Days

On June 15, the second day of the large-scale distribution at the Opole Stegu Arena, Mayor Arkadiusz Wiśniewski came and thanked Tzu Chi: "In fact, in another month, all government subsidies for refugees will face a shortage. Tzu Chi brings timely help."

"In my life in Opole, I don't remember such a large-scale charitable aid," he said, adding that Tzu Chi's aid was twice that of a prominent Polish charity. "Thank you again, from thousands of kilometers away from us, for such great help. Thank you very much, our Taiwanese friends."

The two-day distribution was successfully completed. Deputy Mayor Przemysław Zych presented a special letter of appreciation to Master Cheng Yen on behalf of the municipal government. Tzu Chi volunteer Susan Chen handed over to him a donation from the Ukrainian people, who gave in the spirit of the coin bank during the two-day distribution. She hoped this donation would allow the city government to assist more Ukrainian people.

After accepting the donation, the Deputy Mayor said: "This is the most precious two days, because you donated your love at the most difficult time. Thank you again, Tzu Chi and all the volunteers."

"From my heart, I pray. May we join our hands, our heart as one." The English version of "Prayer" sounded softly. Even though they may not understand English, the touching melody still brought tears to many people's eyes. There is no distance between heart and heart.

(Article by Susan Chen, Xiulian Zhu, Peiling Lu; Opole, Poland, 2022/06/15)


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