Feature Story

Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Global Relief Efforts

By Jennifer Chien, Diana Chang, Ida Eva Zielinska


In the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic that is raging globally, Tzu Chi volunteers around the world stepped firmly and steadfastly into the communities they serve, putting the power of compassion in action and spreading the seeds of goodness.

Unconditional love makes no distinction between rich or poor, sees everyone as equals, and engenders kindness and harmony.

The Americas


Tzu Chi volunteers hold a hot meal distribution at the Dalhousie Food Cupboard in Ottawa, Canada. As they pick up a lunchbox, volunteer Judith Gardner hands a Vegetarian Pledge Card to each care recipient to encourage a plant-based diet. Photo/Chihuang Wang


While Santiago, Chile’s capital, is on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tzu Chi volunteers organize and deliver relief packages on December 13 to the commune of La Pintana in the Santiago Metropolitan Region. It is their 35th aid visit here, and they benefit 171 households this time. Photo/Courtesy of Tzu Chi Chile


Local volunteers from Tzu Chi Ecuador distribute rice and essentials in Manta, in Manabi Province, for the fifth time on November 9. As the volunteers hand the supplies to care recipients, aid made possible through the love and care of people from around the world, they bow to each other to express mutual respect. Photo/Courtesy of Tzu Chi Ecuador


Tzu Chi Bolivia holds a distribution of aid in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the nation’s largest city, on December 8. Through this relief effort, families affected by the pandemic could receive over 80 pounds of food. Photo/Chenhsiang Hsieh


Tzu Chi Mexico launches a Work-for-Relief project, where participants earn income while sewing handmade cloth masks. For those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, the payment gained provides vital relief, while the masks produced help protect residents from COVID-19. Photo/Courtesy of Tzu Chi Mexico

Europe, Asia, and Africa

United Kingdom

On November 15, Tzu Chi volunteers in Powick, a village in Worcestershire, England, launched a fundraising project to benefit typhoon survivors in the Philippines. After obtaining permission from Roy, the local gas station owner, they place their “Send Love to the Philippines” poster on the counter to inspire people to make a donation.
Photo/Suchen Wang


Tzu Chi Germany donates a total of 200,000 masks to hospitals and care centers in Bavaria, of great benefit to their staff. In response, the medical workers with the Kliniken Südostbayern healthcare system in Southeast Bavaria express their thanks for Tzu Chi’s love and care on their website. Photo/Courtesy of Tzu Chi Germany


In the aftermath of a huge explosion in Beirut, Tzu Chi provides aid to families affected by the disaster. With the help of volunteers from the Foutowa Islamic Association, a Lebanese charity organization, Tzu Chi’s distributions in December reach 400 families, each household receiving up to 65 pounds of food and supplies. Photo/Mohammed Nimr AlJamal


Starting in October, consecutive tropical storms have impacted central Vietnam, causing the worst flooding and landslides in 100 years. In response, Tzu Chi volunteers from Ho Chi Minh City fly to affected regions to carry out a series of disaster relief activities from December 5 to 13. Photo/Courtesy of Tzu Chi Vietnam


For three consecutive months, Tzu Chi Bangkok continues to provide mid-to-long-term pandemic relief in Thailand, especially for those without income, day laborers, families in dire need, refugees, and more. Due to government restrictions prohibiting large gatherings, Tzu Chi volunteers pack the supplies and deliver them to care recipients rather than having people come to a distribution event. Photo/Pinti Su


Most residents of Mingaladon Township, located in the northernmost part of Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, are migrant workers from other parts of the city. Since the pandemic began, many workers have been affected by factory closures or layoffs, leaving them without income and away from their home communities. On January 6, Tzu Chi Myanmar volunteers distribute rice and cooking oil to help individuals and families in need. Photo/Mg Myint Thu


Cambodia experienced drought and floods in 2020, causing severe damage in 20 provinces and cities. Tzu Chi provided disaster relief in the Bavel District of northwestern Cambodia’s Battambang Province, the second hardest-hit region. After postponements due to the pandemic, from January 5 to 12, Tzu Chi volunteers proceed to distribute rice and cooking oil in six counties to help those affected by the string of disasters. Photo/Shuchen Huang


In Australia, Tzu Chi Melbourne volunteers prepare Christmas gift bags and deliver them to Launch Housing to offer some holi-day cheer to those it serves. The community organization provides homelessness ser-vices and life-changing housing support to disadvantaged populations in the state of Victoria. Launch Housing’s staff members come out to receive the supplies. Photo/Courtesy of Tzu Chi Melbourne

South Africa

Since its establishment in 1992, Tzu Chi South Africa has become deeply rooted. In response to the pandemic, it partners with over 130 non-profit organizations to help feed those in need in densely populated Gauteng Province, home to Johannesburg, the country’s largest city. On November 15, a groundbreaking ceremony launched con-struction of a Jing Si Hall in Johannesburg, which will facilitate such aid efforts. Photo/Taijung Lin


Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is a landlocked kingdom in Southern Africa. Tzu Chi volunteers promote the cultivation of vegetable gardens here and have established over 60 distribution stations for produce grown at the Great Love Farm in the city of Manzini, the country’s largest urban center. Every week, one to three distributions serve underserved families, including seniors and young children. Photo/Courtesy of Tzu Chi South Africa


Several Tzu Chi programs in Zimbabwe were interrupted due to COVID-19. However, a clinic in Epworth, a settlement in Harare Province, notified volunteers that the number of malnourished children in the region has surged during the pandemic. Therefore, they resumed Tzu Chi’s hot meal project there so children won’t go hungry. In gratitude, parents send their kids to bring firewood from home for the volunteers to use when cooking the meals.
Photo/Hlengisile Jiyane

Latest Issues

#71 | Winter 2023
#70 | Fall 2023
#69 | Summer 2023
#68 | Spring 2023
#67 | Winter 2022
#66 | Fall 2022