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2016 News

Happy Smiles in the Slums of Sierra Leone

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A child nibbles on a mango as she eyes the Tzu Chi volunteers  whom she has never met before. (Photo by Huang You Bin)

Amidst the smoke of burning rubbish, a few children can be seen scavenging around for food. Both sides of the river in the slum area are untidily lined with the homes of the poor, while its residents can be seen taking apart discarded electronic goods in the narrow alleys. The river that leads directly to the sea is heavily polluted with trash and lies stagnant. This is the scene that greets the eye when one steps into the slum located in Freetown, capital city of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

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Spreading the Word on Recycling

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Every new Tzu Chi community recycling point needs the support of the neighbourhood Residents’ Committee (RC) as well as the residents themselves. On 12 June 2016, Tzu Chi Singapore’s 35th recycling point officially opened at the void deck of Block 256 in Pasir Ris. How did the volunteers sow the seeds of love (for Mother Earth) in the hearts of the grassroots leaders and residents?

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Friendships Revived After Six Years

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During the university break, recipients of the Tzu Chi-SMU Bursary were invited to a gathering at the free clinic. (Photo by Zhou Zheng Yang)

On 4 June 2016, the fragrance of dumplings wafted out from the premises of the Tzu Chi Free Clinic, where five students from Singapore Management University (SMU) had the opportunity to meet and learn more about Tzu Chi. They were recipients of the Tzu Chi-SMU Bursary, and accompanying them were 25 Tzu Chi volunteers, many of whom were already familiar faces to them. Though small in number, it was the first gathering for SMU students organized by Tzu Chi Singapore, after a hiatus of six years. 

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Little Ones Care for the Elderly

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On 15 June 2016, 16 children from Tzu Chi Great Love PreSchool visited Tzu Chi Free Clinic to bring cheer to patients. (Photo by Bernard Ng)

For the past three years, the Tzu Chi Great Love PreSchool has been organizing filial piety themed activities for their students. In June this year, the little children learnt how to treat others with the same care as they would themselves. Under their teacher’s guidance, they visited the two Tzu Chi free clinics, giving massages and putting up a sign language item to bring cheer to the sick and elderly.

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Quenching Parched Throats and Dry Lands with Great Love

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As a result of a continuous dry spell since Oct 2015, agriculturally-rich Vietnam found itself in the throes of its worst drought and saltwater intrusion in almost a century. As a country highly dependent on agriculture for its GDP, this severe drought caused a humanitarian crisis of water shortages and severely poor harvests. Knowing of the Tzu Chi Foundation’s strong track record in responding to humanitarian crises, the People’s Aid Coordinating Committee (PACCOM) in Vietnam issued an SOS call to the organization for urgent drought relief.

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Humanitarian Aid —The Hope Amidst Suffering

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Hu Guang Zhong, a Tzu Chi volunteer from Turkey (middle),  and Professor Cuma of Syrian nationality (left), introduce the organization to a visitor at the booth. (Photo credit: Tzu Chi Taiwan)

Globally, 60 million people are homeless due to wars and climatic changes and the numbers requiring aid exceed 130 million. With this in mind, the United Nations (UN) held the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul from 23-24 May, 2016, as a platform to put forward better solutions for strengthening humanitarian preparedness and response. The Summit was attended by over 6,000 people, including the leaders of 57 countries and NGO representatives, and Tzu Chi was invited on the merits of its long history in humanitarian aid efforts.

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Let’s not Talk about Financial Aid and Be Friends!

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In the years that Tzu Chi volunteers have made care visits to the needy, there was an instance where financial help was declined. A single mother who was still in bereavement over the passing of her spouse, was the sole breadwinner for her family of four. Though she was clearly in need of financial help, she would not accept aid. How did Tzu Chi volunteers manage to talk her around?

 

 

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COP21 Paris 2015 ─ The Uphill Battle Against Climate Change

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At the COP21 held in Paris from 30 November 2015 to 12 December 2015, close to 40,000 politicians, academics, business leaders and representatives (from various sectors such as industrial, agricultural, manufacturing, media, and entertainment) attended some 600 rounds of discussions. As an NGO member, the Tzu Chi Foundation was invited for the third time running, and its volunteers from Taiwan, USA, and Europe shared about the organization’s global efforts towards the vital green cause.

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