Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Sep 28th
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Home Global Activities Taiwan Sichuan Governor Visits Tzu Chi

Sichuan Governor Visits Tzu Chi

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On May 24, the governor of Sichuan, Jiang Jufeng, came to Hualien to convey his thanks in person to Master Cheng Yen and members of Tzu Chi for their help in rebuilding his province after the devastating earthquake of May 2008. The foundation arrived at the scene within 50 hours and has remained there ever since, building 13 schools and 91 homes.

The Great Sichuan Earthquake struck in the afternoon of May 12, 2008. It registered 8.2 on the Richter scale and killed 69,000 people and left 18,000 missing, 374,000 injured and 4.8 million homeless. It was the deadliest earthquake to hit China since the Tangshan earthquake of 1976. The foundation was the first non-mainland NGO to reach the area and its volunteers have worked there since, providing food, clothing and other material aid and psychological support. Last November, the foundation completed construction of 13 schools (Project Hope) in the earthquake zone and 91 Great Love homes in Guangming village, Zhongjiang county.

Jiang was leading a delegation of 40 officials from Sichuan on a week-long visit to Taiwan. They shared experiences of reconstruction after natural disasters, including the Taiwan experience after Typhoon Morakot in August 2009 and the earthquake of September 1999. They visited areas hit by these two events and saw the reconstruction work, including the Shenlin village outside Kaohsiung which the foundation built for those who lost their homes to Typhoon Morakot.

Then Jiang made a special visit to Hualien to visit Master Cheng Yen and thank the foundation for its help in rebuilding his province. She accompanied him toured the Jing Si Hall and told the history of Tzu Chi. Then the two held a talk. He thanked her for the contribution Tzu Chi has made to the reconstruction of Sichuan. He explained how the work is progressing: those who lost their homes have been rehoused and the transport, water, power and telecommunications systems have been repaired to their pre-earthquake standard or even surpassing it. "Now the government's priority is reconstruction of industry, providing work for the people, repairing the natural setting and protecting the environment," he said. "So people will not only have somewhere to live but also enjoy a good life."

Master Cheng Yen expressed that Tzu Chi volunteers carried the spirit of great love and respect for all beings in bringing aid and re-building houses for the earthquake survivors. Volunteers have never left Sichuan from the time they step foot on the city and they continue to give aid and comfort to them for their immediate, mid term and long term necessities to keep their bodies, minds and hearts at peace. Tzu Chi also introduced importance of environmental protection and led the people in putting it into action. Soon enough the people of Sichuan felt the importance of protecting and loving our mother earth, became devoted, adapted it into their daily lives and eventually became the source of community volunteerism. Dharma Master Cheng Yen believes that every human being is compassionate in nature and she hopes everyone can seize the chance to contribute in times of disaster.

After the meeting, they exchanged gifts. Master Cheng Yen gave Governor Jiang and his party books published by the Jing Si Publisher and blankets and the Red Envelope of Wisdom and Blessings. In return, Jiang gave portrait and artwork of embroidery.

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" Material objects were meant to be tools for us to use. Yet, lacking wisdom, we are perpetually discontent, and we thus become enslaved by material objects. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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