Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

May 28th
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Home Global Activities Asia In Myanmar, Tzu Chi Helps Poor Farmers Achieve Self-Reliance

In Myanmar, Tzu Chi Helps Poor Farmers Achieve Self-Reliance

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In Myanmar, by donating a handful of rice from their rice container every day, over 50,000 donor members have helped more than 3,000 poor families. This proves that, by giving what we have without impacting our livelihood, a little generosity pooled together can help many people.


Affinity from 2008

On May 2, 2008, Cyclone Nargis devastated southwestern Myanmar. 130,000 people were killed and missing, and half of the country's population was affected. Tzu Chi volunteers in Malaysia took the lead in disaster relief and distributed high-quality rice seeds, so that farmers could resume farming as soon as possible.

After the relief from the storm, through the distributions and the support of the volunteers, lasting compassion was formed in the hearts of the affected. Then, volunteers in Myanmar begun to learn; they have aspired and vowed, and carried on the power of love.

From Bamboo Bank to Rice Bank

One poor farmer, U Thein Tun, heard the story of Tzu Chi's "Bamboo Bank Years" at the distribution ceremony. He learned that accumulation can help people. But he was a poor farmer -- what could he do?

Then he heard another farmer, U Min Shou, explain the concept of "Save a handful of rice a day". As a result, he also started "saving a handful of rice a day" to help others.

When you cook rice each day, take a handful of rice and store it in another container: then, when everyone is full, gather the rice left over, so that you can help others who are more in need.

Also, because he understands Tzu Chi's philosophy of "non-killing", U Thein Tun cultivates his land with natural farming methods, friendly to the earth, and does not use pesticides.

Besides protecting lives, he also says good words, Jing Si Aphorisms, to his rice in the field every day. His harvest was always better than other farmers’ and his life became better and better.

In 2014, he bought another field, and decided to donate the harvest of this field to Tzu Chi for charity. So this has become a veritable "field of blessing".

Spread the Message

Tzu Chi volunteers invited U Thein Tun to participate in the training of new volunteers. Since then, he has gone to village after village to promote "save a handful of rice a day". Once, another villager, U San Thein, listened to the promotion of the "Rice Bank" in Taik Kyi, Yangon; when he returned to his village that day, he invited more than 30 farmers to take part.

U San Thein actively promotes the rice bank. So far, the message has reached 226 villages and attracted 57,082 households to become rice bank members. When collected every month, the total donated rice can help over 3,000 poor families.

Farmers Help Farmers

From June to July 2022, in Myanmar, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy hard, and many people have fallen on hard times. Farmers in Shwe Na Gwin Village, who were helped by Tzu Chi, used their hands and donated rice seeds. 32 farmers donated 158 baskets of rice seeds, in cooperation with Tzu Chi, to help poor farmers in three other villages.

This time the mission was undertaken by local volunteers and the seeds donated by farmers to help farmers in other villages.

The rice seeds distribution was held at the Tzu Chi Okkan office; it was hosted by villagers of Shwe Na Gwin, U San Thein and U Tun Yi. Rice seeds were donated by U Jin Sui and 31 other farmers, with a total of 1,584 baskets; they helped 190 farmers in three villages. It used to be hard, but now it is a joy to pay.

Plant Good Thoughts, Coexist with Nature

This time the high-quality rice seeds from Thailand were distributed, and everyone looked forward to celebrating a bumper harvest.

Farmer U Zo My Win said: "Now Tzu Chi distributes rice seeds, which helps farmers a lot. After my rice seeds are harvested, I will also spread my love."

Another farmer Daw Than Than Htwe said: "It is estimated that this year's harvest will yield more than 100 baskets per acre. In previous years, it was only 60 baskets per acre, and we are still in debt."

During the distribution, the recipients not only learned to help people, but also to treat animals with more kindness. They know to coexist with nature.

As Fushou snails (golden apple snails) invaded Daw Than Than Htwe’s field,
she learned to say good words to the snails, and make compromises with them every day; she drew a plot and said, "You can eat here, but please leave the rest to me."

Incredible -- the snails only eat in that plot of land! Her method was to mark out an area, so that the snails can survive, but it does not damage other seedlings. This is really incredible!

Due to the political turmoil, Yangon volunteers were unable to come to join the distribution ceremony, so they gave their blessings via video. One of them, Guo Baoyu, encouraged them by saying: “We don't donate because we are rich, but because we have love.”

Creating Unlimited Blessings

Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi, often says that by giving what we have without affecting our own livelihood, a little, when pooled together, can help many people.

The seeds of rice are also seeds of blessings, and the love keeps expanding like ripples. The donated rice accumulates into a significant amount. The number of people they help is also significant. 50,000-plus households can help 3,000-plus families. In this way, no matter rich or poor, everyone can create unlimited blessings.

From a few blessings to unlimited blessings covering the world, would this not make the world prosperous and people peaceful?

Let us create unlimited blessings with faith and spread blessings all around.

【News】Tzu Chi in The World

" Be grateful to your parents and to all sentient beings, every day. In everything you do, never disappoint them. "
Jing-Si Aphorism