February 24, 2018
Inspiring quake survivors to give
By Jamaica Digo
As life gradually gets better for the survivors of the 6.5-magnitude earthquake in July 2017, they are keen in finding an opportunity to pay forward the help they received in their time of need.
Before the distribution, Tzu Chi volunteers encouraged the beneficiaries to set aside some money for charity. In 1966, Buddhist nun Master Cheng Yen started the Tzu Chi Foundation in almost the same way. The Master crafted bamboo coin banks and gave one to each of her 30 disciple housewives. She instructed them to set aside 0.50 Taiwan dollars from their grocery money every day so they can help their poor and ailing fellowmen. Over the years, the concept of the bamboo bank evolved, but it continues to spread and inspire people whose lives Tzu Chi’s programs had touched.
“Tzu Chi’s funds come from the people who willingly donate. If not for them we will not be able to carry out our programs. Now, we are giving you a chance to help Tzu Chi with its charity works across the world, so join us!” Tzu Chi Philippines Deputy CEO Alfredo Li tells the villagers.
Juanita Taburnal, 63, heeded the call and pledged to become a donating member. She sells vegetables for a living. Every month, she vows to set aside PHP30 from her income as donation. “I realized that although we are poor ourselves, more people are going through worse suffering than us. I want to extend hope for them,” explains Juanita.
Juanita’s daughter-in-law, Diwani Taburnal, 29, meanwhile, pledged to donate PHP100 every month. To achieve this, Diwani, her husband, and their two daughters needed to save PHP20 every month.
“We received so much blessings from Tzu Chi as a family, so it is only fitting that we also give as one family to help another in need,” muses Diwani. “But if you think about it, Tzu Chi has given us so much more than the amount we could afford to donate. Tzu Chi gave us a house and [foldable] beds. My heart is bursting with joy. I hope to share with others this love and generosity that Tzu Chi has taught us and planted in our hearts.”
Tzu Chi volunteer Michael Siao reminds the villagers that more than the amount of donation, what matters is that they give in good faith.
“Every time you put your donation in this coin bank, say a short prayer: ‘I hope I can help someone with this.’ That is very powerful because you are not only praying, but also reinforcing it by taking action,” he says.
When the aid distribution ended, Tzu Chi had 62 new families of donors. Holding their coin banks, they thanked Tzu Chi founder Dharma Master Cheng Yen for all the help she has extended and cheered for the opportunity to not remain as aid recipients but also turn their lives around and become benefactors.
Like these calamity survivors, you can make a difference. Visit http://tzuchi.org.ph/how-to-help/donation/ to find out how you can #HelpTzuChiHelpOthers.