Tzu Chi Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1966 by Dharma Master Cheng Yen in the impoverished east coast of Taiwan. The Foundation has been contributing to better social and community services, medical care, education and humanism in Taiwan for nearly 50 years. Master Cheng Yen firmly believes that suffering in this world is caused by material deprivation and spiritual poverty. She felt that “lack of love for others” has been the root of many problems in this world. “To save the world, we must begin by transforming human hearts.”
A volunteer-based, spiritual as well as welfare organisation, Tzu Chi’s missions focus on giving material aid and inspiring love and humanity in both the givers and receivers. Since its founding, the Foundation has dedicated itself in the field of charity, medicine, education, environmental protection, as well as the promotion of humanistic values and community volunteerism. The humanitarian work is both a means to help those in need, and also a way to open the eyes of the volunteer to the harsher side of life, so that through giving, they may find spiritual happiness and life’s true meaning.
A home-grown Taiwanese organization, Tzu Chi volunteers living abroad began setting up overseas chapters in 1985. They used money that they have earned in their country of residence to help the poor and needy in their local communities.
Emergency aid to typhoon-stricken Bangladesh in 1991 marked the beginning of the Foundation’s international relief efforts. Firmly believing that, “Nothing is more valuable than life, All beings are equal.” Tzu Chi demonstrates first hand that they can overcome obstacles of time, distance, and politics, to provide relief and hope to victims of war, flood, and drought. As of August 2005, over fifty-seven countries in five continents have received Tzu Chi’s aid.
From the icy Arctic Circle to the sweltering tropics, Tzu Chi volunteers have left their footprints in many faraway lands, risking their lives in epidemics and wars. Their belief in “making the impossible possible” has sustained them in accomplishing many arduous tasks. In addition to material aid, Tzu Chi has also encouraged mutual help among disaster victims and helped them to become independent by involving them in rebuilding their own communities. The ultimate goal is to inspire disaster victims to contribute to others in turn when they have the ability to do so, thus creating a global village of Great Love.