By Anik Ghose
The theme for the Summer 2022 Tzu Chi USA Journal Issue 65 is Responsiveness, a driving force of Tzu Chi’s aid worldwide. In 1943, American psychologist Abraham Maslow published “A Theory of Human Motivation,” a groundbreaking paper outlining a hierarchy of five core human needs: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. The stories in this issue reveal how Tzu Chi’s aid holistically responds to these needs.
To begin, our cover story “Care for Ukrainians Escaping War” brings us to Poland, where over half of the Ukrainians who fled their homeland since Russia invaded have ended up. Tzu Chi’s swift response is answering physiological needs for food through supermarket shopping cards, while DA.AI eco-blankets and our volunteers’ attentive care are helping create a sense of safety, love and belonging, and esteem for displaced Ukrainians at this most distressing of times.
“A Model Citizen: Ukrainian Fashion Star Evacuates War Zone” takes an in-depth look at one Ukrainian care recipient’s story, that of Oksana Kononets, a wheelchair model who has found refuge in the United States. Aside from answering immediate needs, Tzu Chi’s aid also leads to a chance to collaborate. Oksana is determined to help her fellow Ukrainians: A meaningful goal that fulfills her needs for esteem and self-actualization.
“Home, Sweet Home: Tzu Chi’s Long-Term Camp Fire Recovery Continues” touches on how Tzu Chi’s disaster aid encompasses emergency and long-term needs. This progression enables individuals to resume actualizing their dreams once their lives finally stabilize. After a 2018 California wildfire, Tzu Chi distributed cash cards initially and set up a recovery center to provide resources and information. For some disaster survivors, the aid has now culminated in receiving mobile homes and the first legally sanctioned tiny home in Butte County.
“United in Action: Dialogue at Tzu Chi Center” introduces a new program at the Tzu Chi Center for Compassionate Relief in New York City. The show highlights topics related to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how Tzu Chi’s global missions and activities address them. The SDGs aim to protect the environment while creating equal opportunities for humans to achieve their full potential by answering their urgent needs.
To conclude the issue, our feature “A Tradition as Relevant as Ever: Buddha Bathing and Interfaith Prayers of Gratitude” announces how in 2022, for the first time, Tzu Chi USA conducted its annual three-in-one celebration of Buddha or Vesak Day, Tzu Chi Day, and Mother’s Day at its National Headquarters in California entirely in English, a milestone for collaboration between different faith traditions, especially regarding charity and other aid.
As psychologist Abraham Maslow proclaimed, human needs are universal, as faith traditions have always known. So we must start by attaining the basics to reach the pinnacle of meaning in our lives, and Tzu Chi is there to support our neighbors near and far in the spirit of one family.