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Oct 02nd
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Home Global Activities Asia Gather All Our Power to Inspire Goodness—Distributions in Sri Lanka (Part 2/2)

Gather All Our Power to Inspire Goodness—Distributions in Sri Lanka (Part 2/2)

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In addition to providing assistance in the Kesbewa district of Colombo, from September 16-18, the Sri Lankan volunteers also went to the Milania district; it is about 25 kilometers from the contact point in the capital. Volunteers had to distribute in three different locations within three days. They benefited a total of 820 households.


Donate Petrol Coupons to Help Distribution

Thankfully, trainee volunteer Ranjith translated the Sinhala language into the Tamil language. Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic and cultural country, so translators were needed to communicate with the villagers during the distribution. Although the languages were different, the smiles on the faces and the kindness in the heart helped love flow between them.

In 2021, the Sri Lanka government suddenly launched the "organic farming" policy, which banned the use of pesticides nationwide. Milania District is an agricultural area; the new policy has had a great impact on the livelihood of local farmers.

The shortage of gasoline has made people's life even harder. The government has restricted each car to a certain amount of gasoline per week; this makes the 40-minute drive further away. The volunteers worked out how to overcome difficulties together. They donated their own petrol coupons in order to go to the various locations for distribution.

Selfless love can always touch others. The two gas stations near the contact point are also happy to support the volunteers.

Jing Si Aphorisms Bring Confidence to the Sick

Volunteers do not only give material help; they also donate to each household a copy of the Sinhala version of Jing Si Aphorisms, hoping that this will bring people strength and comfort during their suffering.

On September 18, in Lenawara, a gentleman came with a helmet in his hand. When he found the love urn placed next to a photo of Master Cheng Yen, the founder of Tzu Chi, he respectfully put in a Thank You letter and one hundred rupees (US$0.27).

It turned out that his sick wife, Ms. Surangani, had asked him to come for supplies and bring her love to Tzu Chi. In the letter, she said: "I am really grateful to Master Cheng Yen for giving me a lot of encouragement through Jing Si Aphorisms. This time I don’t have to worry about food shortages anymore.” She also mentioned that she had suffered from three types of cancer in a row during the past ten years. With Tzu Chi's assistance, the Master's Jing Si Aphorisms have supported her through every test of life.

In addition to the volunteers, Ms. Dilrukshi, the secretary-general of Milania District, led the team during the successful distribution. This was not the end but the beginning.

You can also become a Tzu Chi volunteer, and your love will spread with every Tzu Chi action.

Walking with Love

In June 2022, thanks to the introduction of the Klang Valley branch in Malaysia, the Venerable Mahawela Rathanapala, the Sri Lankan Buddhist Gem Fellowship, and Tzu Chi Sri Lanka worked together to distribute in the Eastern and Central Provinces.

The residents of the Eastern province rely on farming for a living. In recent years, due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, seasonal drought, and lack of fertilizers, the harvests have been poor. At the same time, because prices have been rising, their income has not only decreased in the past three years, but some farmers even have no income.

In Doluwa in the Central province, farmers mainly work in tea gardens. Their income in the remote countryside is very low, and medical support is also extremely scarce. Many families consist of old people and young children, or single-parent families. Therefore Venerable Mahawela Rathanapala hoped to work with Tzu Chi to distribute food to the most disadvantaged villagers in these remote areas.

On September 28 and 29, six volunteers drove from Colombo to Central and Eastern provinces to complete the relief distribution to 300 households.

On the first day in Doluwa, volunteer Arosha Paranavithana introduced Tzu Chi to the farmers. At that time, Venerable Mahawela Rathanapala did not know much about Tzu Chi. But, after listening, he was deeply moved. After the distribution, he immediately searched the Internet for more Tzu Chi stories.

The next day, in Dehia, Venerable Mahawela Rathanapala could not wait to tell everyone the story of Tzu Chi; he finished all the stories that Arosha was going to share. The volunteers did not know what to do; they could only laugh. The warmth and enthusiasm of the Master infected everyone at the scene.

In Sri Lanka, it is customary not to take babies under three months out of the house. However, most of the husbands have to go out to work to earn a meager living. Many of the people who came to the site to collect supplies were mothers holding their children.

Young Priyanthika Kumari had no-one at home to take care of the child, so she had to carry her baby, one month and six days old, to the distribution site.  She said: "I'm really grateful to Venerable Mahawela Rathanapala and Tzu Chi for helping us when we needed it most!" But she never expected that 30 kilos of rice and other food would be distributed this time. With this “heavy” love, she had no choice but to ask her husband -- who does odd jobs -- to help.

Aruna, a material supplier in Dehia, Central province, said: "Although the government has provided ten kilograms of rice and one kilogram of milk, it is very insufficient for some families, and this is the first time to have someone coming here to distribute supplies.” When he learnt about how Tzu Chi raised funds to help poor families, he was willing to do his best not only to offer the best prices for materials, but also specially prepared a vegetarian lunch for volunteers on the day of distribution.

Tzu Chi is sincerely grateful to those people willing to give. Although the power of every volunteer is limited, we believe that, through recruiting more volunteers, we can illuminate the world with love. We hope to gather all the power to inspire goodness and bring an end to suffering.

You can also save change every day and make good wishes, praying that everyone in the world will live and work in peace and contentment.

Article: Yuan Shu-zhen, Zeng Qian-yu, Wu Xiu-ling/Report from Sri Lanka 2022/10/19

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