PORTRAIT

Spring Forward To Tzu Chi Connect: The Future of Relief Work

By Adriana DiBenedetto, Anik Ghose

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The Power of a Good Deed

The story behind Tzu Chi’s bamboo banks is one of profound love given rise to by a moment of heartbreaking tragedy, and has since transformed the suf-fering of countless individuals across the globe.

An aboriginal woman suffering from la-bor complications had been carried to a hos-pital for miles only to be turned away when she lacked the funds to cover the hospital’s security deposit. Upon noticing the blood that remained on the hospital floor and learning of this woman’s story, the venerable Dharma Master Cheng Yen was moved to action. Over the course of one year, she and her followers saved NT 50 cents daily from their grocery fund to raise the amount of money needed for someone like that woman to receive proper treatment.

Since then, Tzu Chi has gone on to raise enough money to build a hospital in Hualien, and the foundation’s footprint of charity and humanitarianism now spans the globe.

Bamboo banks are still in use to this day for donations on behalf of those in need, serv-ing as an enduring symbol for pure and loving intention and gentle perseverance. 

It is with this in mind that Tzu Chi created its new mobile application: Tzu Chi Connect. The app helps users stay connected with the causes they hold dearest to them. And like the traditional bamboo bank, the app gives in-dividuals the power to donate in small quan-tities over time to directly support Tzu Chi’s humanitarian missions.

Your Compassion, In Focus

In a time of great challenge and greater up-heavals, Tzu Chi Connect provides a means of togetherness through shared compassion and the desire to help those who struggle amidst di-sasters, poverty, illness, and more. This bamboo bank custom-fit for a digital era gives users the opportunity to not only donate, but share inspi-rational stories that empower others as well, al-lowing users to bestow spiritual support in addi-tion to financial relief.

Furthermore, Tzu Chi Connect optional-ly utilizes a feature called “Spare Change” that rounds your purchases up to the nearest dollar. Users can select a specified amount in round-ups to be donated at the end of the month. For example, app users can donate each time they accumulate $5 by rounding up spare change through purchases made on a particular credit card, or they can donate a specified amount in round-ups at the end of the month.

Can’t do recurring donations? The app also allows individuals to select the cause they wish to support – from health and wellbeing, to quality education, to hunger, poverty, and disaster relief – and send a one-time donation as well. Every dol-lar counts, and in these deeply challenging times, your selfless gift can help Tzu Chi volunteers de-liver hope to those who need it most.

We are connected like one big family. Therefore, love each other during peaceful times and help each other when calamities strike.

Jing Si Aphorism by Dharma Master Cheng Yen

The world still trembles under the weight of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and many who already struggled to make ends meet be-fore the crisis now face even further challenges. With Tzu Chi Connect, you’re just a few taps and swipes from making a difference for a family on the brink of poverty, hunger, and despair.

Sharing one’s support with a humble heart and inspiring others is also made easier by Tzu Chi Connect’s story submission option. Through this activity, app users are invited to share mean-ingful experiences they had with Tzu Chi, choos-ing to either make the story public on the app, or send the message directly to Tzu Chi. A team at Tzu Chi USA reviews all of the stories received and features a number of these uplifting public contributions on the app’s home screen. Also available on the app are featured news and vid-eos that introduce users to some of the real peo-ple and communities that we’re supporting, as well as the progress we’re making.

What is to be feared is not the long distance to our goals but rather, not moving forward even one step.

Jing Si Aphorism by Dharma Master Cheng Yen

Through Tzu Chi Connect, you can help us do more for the communities we serve. As individuals stay at home in an effort to main-tain their wellness and that of their families, and small businesses, too, have become caught in the tides and struggle to stay afloat, our app makes compassionate giving more convenient. Through the timeless potential of perseverance and selfless giving, Tzu Chi hopes to illuminate the future, and inspire active compassion in our daily lives. With one heart, we invite you to help us empower those in need.

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