Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

May 30th
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Home Global Activities Asia In Sri Lanka, Tzu Chi Distributes Food to Over 1,000 Households

In Sri Lanka, Tzu Chi Distributes Food to Over 1,000 Households

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On July 5, the Sri Lankan government declared bankruptcy. On the 9th, more than 100,000 people stormed the presidential residence to demonstrate their anger. On the 14th, the President officially stepped down. An economic crisis has led to shortages of gasoline, medicines and food in Sri Lanka, and prices of basic foods have more than doubled within six months.

What is even more pressing is that, even if people have money, they cannot buy the materials they need. They can only wait in line for several days. At night they cannot leave and must sleep on the ground until the next day. Without gas and petrol, cars and buses are not running, and people have no fuel to cook. Sri Lanka seems to be frozen.

Affinity and Distribution

In 2004, Tzu Chi set foot in Sri Lanka for the first time in order to help the victims of the South Asia Tsunami. At that time, Tzu Chi opened an office in Hambantota, built a Da Ai Village and Tzu Chi National Middle School. Now there is a Tzu Chi office in the capital, Colombo.

In response to this recent wave of difficulties, from July 6 to 9, Hambantota volunteers distributed relief supplies to a total of 1,032 households of Tzu Chi school teachers and students, Da Ai villagers and Tzu Chi volunteers.

Of course, the economic crisis has also directly affected the activities of volunteers. The most obvious outcome is that, due to lack of transportation, those who live far away cannot reach the contact point.

Fortunately, 20 students and 10 teachers from the school volunteered for the distribution work. Long-term care recipient Y.B. Inoka Damayanthi also volunteered. She lives 15 kilometers away from the Hambantota office; because of the economic turmoil, there is no bus she can take. Under the scorching sun, she could only walk for at least three hours to volunteer. If it were you, would you do it?

Inoka’s Story

Inoka, 47, is a single mother with four children. The oldest is 18 and the youngest nine. Because she has a low IQ, she has difficulty finding a job. After divorcing her husband in 2015, she received alimony from him. But, unfortunately, in 2018 he died of a heart attack.

When Tzu Chi learnt of her case, she had been out of touch with her eldest son for many years. She suffered from depression, suicidal tendencies, insomnia, and panic.

She lives in the suburbs with her children; the fruits and vegetables that she planted were always eaten by monkeys and elephants. Her life was miserable. Tzu Chi has provided her with basic food every month since February 2019.

At the end of 2019, Inoka began to volunteer at Tzu Chi. Her depression gradually diminished and her mind became clearer. The volunteers felt that she was actually very smart, optimistic and caring.

In July 2022, Sri Lanka is in economic difficulties. Inoka is even more affected than most people. But she can live in the moment and act as a volunteer to benefit others. It is her gratitude that gives her strength; her contentment gives her wisdom.


Life is impermanent. Gratitude, respect, and love will bring happiness and last forever.

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