With perseverance and courage, the roughest roads can become smooth. – Tzu Chi Foundation Dharma Master Cheng Yen
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected many livelihoods and claimed thousands of lives in Malaysia. As of July 18, there have been over 916,560 Covid-19 cases in the country, with over 7,000 deaths, and the numbers continue to rise each day.
Even though the statistics are alarming, Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia volunteers aren’t ready to throw in the towel and give up the fight.
Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia's head of media (humanistic cultural development) Chong Chuan Yit said its volunteers have been going the extra mile to help communities since the first movement control order in March last year.
“During the first MCO, we launched the We Love We Care MCO Response initiative, which focuses on providing protective equipment, including face shields, medical masks and isolation gowns, for frontliners.
“By the third quarter of 2020, we launched the Kita1Keluarga programme to provide sustenance to Malaysians whose livelihoods were severely affected by Covid-19 and the MCO. This programme provided three consecutive months of cash aid to 2,178 Malaysian families,” said Chong in an email interview.
Tzu Chi’s Covid-19 Response effort is divided into five prongs – the Kita1Keluarga; We Love We Care MCO Response; Bless Sabah (assistance to Sabahans during the brink of Covid-19); 2021 Flood (helping flood victims in Pahang and Johor) and Malaysia Solidarity Fund (providing medical equipment to hospitals).
To date, it has provided protective gear and medical aid to 2,372 hospitals and clinics, and care assistance to 34,709 families throughout Malaysia. Tzu Chi is among many organisations which are carrying out heartwarming acts of kindness to those in need during the pandemic.
Volunteers like Chong spring into action as they feel it is their responsibility to help the country and humanity. Their charity work is in line with Tzu Chi’s mission to relieve the suffering of those in need and create a better world for all.
Its charity projects are based on three principles – protecting, sustaining and saving lives.
“In times of chaos, stability is most needed. It is our hope that our every action and contribution can bring peace and harmony to society during this very challenging time.
"Covid-19 does not discriminate between the young and old, rich or poor, and hence we are in this together,” said Chong, who quit the corporate world in 2013 to lead Tzu Chi Malaysia’s media department.
Sparking a positive difference
The Taiwanese international humanitarian and non-governmental organisation was first founded in 1966 by Buddhist nun Dharma Master Cheng Yen. It currently has branches in 63 countries including the United States and Australia, in Africa, Europe and various locations in Asia.
On the home front, there are over two million Tzu Chi donors. On average, the foundation helps over 5,000 families monthly and has provided 200,000 study grants for underprivileged students.
In addition, it has erected over 1,000 community recycling centres across Malaysia, and has rendered 130,000 medical treatments to refugees through Tzu-Chi free clinics in Kuala Lumpur and Klang.
The foundation is unwavering in its efforts to answer calls for help from different communities, regardless of race, religion or creed.
It is commendable how the foundation manages to pool together its resources and swiftly provide aid in any crisis, ranging from floods, earthquakes to the current pandemic.
Moreover, during an emergency, its volunteers band together to help others because it is part of the foundation’s motto of selfless giving to uplift those who are suffering.
“At the core of Tzu Chi’s relief effort is Master Cheng Yen’s teaching, which is to give what is needed and give promptly to people who are most in need. In addition, we train volunteers to mobilise themselves swiftly to reach out in community volunteering projects.
“Our foundation now has chapters in 63 countries and provides aid to 124 countries with over 10 million donors and volunteers across the globe,” said Chong, adding that the Malaysian chapter has also raised funds for Tzu Chi international relief efforts.
Two weeks ago, Tzu Chi became the first NGO to participate in the Health Ministry's (MOH) National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).
The foundation had offered its premises at the KL Tzu Chi Jing Si Hall in Kepong for free to carry out and help expedite the government’s vaccination programme.Currently, the centre administers between 600 and 800 doses of vaccines daily.
“In addition to medical personnel from BookDoc (MOH’s partner) and Tzu Chi International Medical Association (Tima), who administer vaccines on weekdays and weekends respectively, Tzu Chi has also mobilised 50 volunteers to assist in registration and other tasks on-site daily," said Chong.
Tzu Chi also plans to initiate a Food Care programme to provide food supplies to struggling families.
“Tzu Chi had earlier set up a careline to help poor families around Klang Valley. However, there could still be families that are unaware of this channel. Hence, the food supply collection points will also double up as platforms for families that are in need of further help,” explained Chong.
For more details, call Tzu Chi’s careline at 03-9078 3388 or visit tzuchi.my.