Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Sep 21st
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Home Global Activities Africa Volunteers in South Africa Distribute Winter Goods to 2,000 people

Volunteers in South Africa Distribute Winter Goods to 2,000 people

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For the last month, as host of the World Cup, South Africa has been the centre of the world’s attention – at the same time, Tzu Chi volunteers distributed winter goods to 2,000 people in two poor townships, one north of Johannesburg and one in Port Elizabeth on the south coast. They are part of the annual distribution which the foundation makes to needy communities during the winter.
Like a maze
The volunteers in Johannesburg chose the township of Midrand, 20 kilometers north of the city, as the place for their distribution during what has been an especially cold winter. The volunteers picked the three days of June 11-13, after the start of the month-long school holiday and ahead of the World Cup, which would seize the attention of everyone in the country. They prepared 1,000 kits to give to students, to orphans and other needy students at seven primary schools in Midrand. Preparing the distribution was no easy task.

Midrand is a rabbit warren of small homes made of wood and corrugated iron; they are built close together, with narrow passages between them, like a maze. Even children who live there can sometimes not find their way home. The area is dirty and unkempt, with the roads full of mud and potholes; four-wheel drives are the only safe way to navigate them. As they consulted with local families, the team was greatly assisted by teachers from the schools and Zulu volunteers.

A Me Tuo Fuo
Each of the seven schools has nearly 2,000 students, but the volunteers had only 150 kits for each of them. Each school helped to select those who would receive them; they queued up in an orderly way. The grandmother of one student at the Kaalfontein school brought a bamboo bank; she said that she had taken part in a Tzu Chi event last Christmas for old people and had been very moved. At the Bonwelong school, several students said to the volunteers “A Me Tuo Fuo” (May Buddha bless you) – they had received a kit a year before and remembered the phrase. The distribution went smoothly at the seven schools; it was an occasion for the volunteers to express their love and concern for the needy and ask more local people to join them.

It was the same spirit that motivated the volunteers in Port Elizabeth, which was full of local and foreign fans who had come to cheer on their team at the city’s sparkling new soccer stadium, named after Nelson Mandela, the country’s first black president. Amid the football fever, the volunteers did not forget the needy. They went to Chris Hani, one of the city’s poorest townships, to distribute food and blankets to 300 families, totaling 1,030 people. Since some families cannot even afford one meal a day, the volunteers prepared rice, corn meal and runner beans for each household and a blanket to ward off the cold; each bag weighed 10 kilos. They held the distribution at the Phillip Nikiwe Primary School, where the residents gathered to receive the goods. “On behalf of this community, we cannot find the words to express our appreciation for the good things you have done for us,” said the school principal, Mrs. Makeng. This common desire to help one another is the best sign of human warmth in this cold winter.

【News】Tzu Chi in The World

" Rather than worry about the condition of our society, why not replace it with confidence and with dedication to contribute with loving-kindness? "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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