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FAQ


Question Topics

  1. About Tzu Chi
  2. Become a Volunteer
  3. Donation
  4. Charity
  5. Recycling
About Tzu Chi

Q1 : What kind of organisation is Tzu Chi? 

Tzu Chi was established on 14th May 1966 , in Hualien, Taiwan, by Dharma Master Cheng Yen. The Foundation’s “Four Missions” are Charity, Medicine, Education, and Humanistic Culture, which, over the years, have unfolded to include Bone Marrow Donation, Environmental Protection, Community Volunteerism, and International Relief. These eight concurrent campaigns are collectively known as “Eight Dharma Footprints”. There are currently 622 Tzu Chi offices in 56 countries and regions, with a total of more than ten million donating members and close to two million volunteers worldwide. Tzu Chi has provided aid to 94 countries and regions, working directly with people in need, regardless of race, nationality or religion, to alleviate their suffering. 

Q2 : As a Buddhist organisation, does Tzu Chi require its volunteers and beneficiaries to convert to Buddhism? 

Dharma Master Cheng Yen, the founder of Tzu Chi, believes that all religions help people to understand life's purpose and principles, and that every righteous religion guides people to live a moral and meaningful life. Despite their apparent differences, all religions stress on human development and advocate a life of service. Sharing a common spirit of Great Love, our volunteers do not differentiate one another based on race or religion, and Tzu Chi does not require the volunteers and beneficiaries to change their religion. 

Q3 : How does Tzu Chi live out the spirit of Buddhism? 

The goal of Tzu Chi is to live out the Buddhist values of loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity while working to relieve the suffering of people. Through their participation in Tzu Chi’s activities, our volunteers are able to gain an understanding of the Dharma and purify their own hearts and minds. They cultivate their character and refine their thoughts, speech and actions by applying the Buddha’s teachings they have learned in their daily lives, which benefit themselves as well as others.

Become a Volunteer

Q1 : How do I become a Tzu Chi volunteer? 

Please provide us your personal particulars , and we will contact you within a week’s time. For more information, please visit the webpage: “Our Volunteers” . 

Q2 : What is Tzu Chi’s volunteer training process? 

Master Cheng Yen says that the beauty of a group lies in the refinement of its individuals. When asked about the management style of Tzu Chi, she would always reply, “In Tzu Chi, everyone educates and disciplines themselves.” Through the three-stage volunteer training process of “attachment”, “trainee” and “certification”, volunteers develop a common knowledge and understanding of Tzu Chi’s Missions, protocols, and philosophy, which helps them to work collaboratively and unitedly. Attachment and trainee volunteers learn about the Tzu Chi spirit and serve in the Four Missions. Those who affirm the Tzu Chi spirit, observe the protocols, help to recruit donating members, regularly serve in the community and take on leadership responsibilities, are able to be certified as commissioners or faith corps members upon recommendation by volunteer leaders. 

Q3 : Why does a Tzu Chi volunteer need to undergo training? 

The purpose of volunteer training is to help volunteers develop right views and strengthen their faith and commitment. Besides doing good to sow blessings by participating in Tzu Chi activities, our volunteers undergo periodic training, to learn about life’s principles and to develop their character. In the work of helping the needy, they witness suffering first-hand and come to realise the causes of life’s suffering as expounded in the Dharma. Through undergoing training, they can see how their volunteer experiences bear witness to the truths of the Dharma, and thus grow in wisdom. They will then apply the wisdom they have gained as they continue to serve in the Tzu Chi Missions. Volunteer training is akin to the ongoing nurturing of a sapling. After planting a sapling, we need to nurture it by watering and fertilising it. Then the sapling will grow strong and healthy. 

Q4 : Why should I join Tzu Chi? What are the benefits of becoming a Tzu Chi volunteer? 

Every day we are faced with a myriad of life choices and decisions. Small decisions can lead to everyday outcomes, while major decisions have the potential to change our lives. A wrong decision will lead us off course, thus, we need to exercise wisdom when we make choices in our daily life. The Tzu Chi Path entails practising spiritual cultivation as we serve among people. When we practise the act of giving, we are learning to break the habit of greed, and it is only through the act of helping others that we are grateful as people with potential for goodness. The greatest benefit of joining Tzu Chi lies herein — as we are busy engaging in meaningful activities, there will be an increased sense of clarity and purpose in our life. The reason being, when we finds joy in the work we do, we will experience less affliction, and growth in wisdom will be a natural outcome. 

Q5 : Why must Tzu Chi volunteers wear uniforms? 

Tzu Chi is a globally-recognised NGO as well as an organisation for spiritual cultivation. In a Tzu Chi disaster relief effort, there are always scenes of volunteers clad in their distinctive blue and white uniforms (i.e. “blue sky white cloud”) serving those in need. The uniform has thus become a visible hallmark of Tzu Chi people around the globe, and it symbolises Great Love that traverses borders to comfort those in suffering. By wearing the same uniform, it also demonstrates the beauty of harmony within a team and reflects the willingness of individuals to minimise their ego, without seeking to stand out from others. Volunteers in uniform are reminded to humble themselves and to correct their negative habits and traits, as they expand their minds and serve with joy. 

Q6 : What do the different types of Tzu Chi uniforms embody? 

After joining Tzu Chi, volunteers may go through a process of personal growth in spirit and in responsibility as they undergo a progressive, three-stage volunteer training programme: “attachment, trainee, and certification”. Each of these stages requires different coloured uniforms. For female certified volunteers, there are three sets of uniforms: a navy blue polo shirt with white pants, a navy blue dress, and a qipao. For male certified volunteers, they either wear the navy blue polo shirt with white pants or a suit. The different sets of uniforms are meant to be worn for different types of services and occasions, and are not meant to symbolise “class differences” . 

Q7 : If I am working full-time, can I still join as a volunteer? 

Yes, most definitely. In fact, most of Tzu Chi’s volunteers are themselves holding full-time jobs, but they find time out of their busy schedules to take on the mantle of serving people. The greatest value of life lies in our ability to serve others in society; one with a loving heart leads the happiest life. 

Q8 : I am not a Buddhist. Can I still join Tzu Chi as a volunteer? 

Although Tzu Chi is Buddhist in its origin, it bears the spirit of Great Love, and all of its Missions are carried out in ways that transcend the boundaries of race and religion. Tzu Chi’s primary focus is not on the chanting of sutras or conducting Dharma services; volunteers of different faiths and beliefs are warmly welcome to join us in sowing the seeds of love and blessings. For example, quite a number of members of the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) in various countries are Christians, Muslims or Hindus. 

Q9 : How can I become a home visit volunteer? 

It important that home visit volunteers embody the compassionate spirit of Tzu Chi and have a basic understanding of its philosophy. You can start by signing up for the new volunteers’ training. After completing one training session and attending three book club sessions, you can apply to purchase the grey uniform and then register to become a home visit volunteer.

Donation

Q1 : How do Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) and Buddhist Tzu Chi Merit Organization (Singapore) use the donations they receive? 

The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) has established two accounts for donations, namely, “Local Relief Fund” and “General Fund”, while the Buddhist Tzu Chi Merit Organization (Singapore) currently has only one account, “General Fund”. These two organizations have their own separate accounts and the donations made to each account are specifically used for the purposes stipulated. For more information, please visit the “About Tzu Chi Singapore” page. 

Q2 : Is my donation to Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) tax deductible? 

The Foundation is a registered charity with IPC (Institution of Public Character) status. Hence, donations made to its Local Relief Fund or General Fund (from 1st Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2018) are eligible for IRAS tax deduction of 2.5 times the amount donated. To obtain a tax deduction, please provide us your name, identification number (NRIC/FIN/UEN), and full address. 

Q3 : Do I need to apply for IRAS tax deduction for donations made to Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore)? 

You are not required to do so. We will submit your personal particulars together with your donation details to the IRAS, and the tax deduction will be automatically included in your income tax assessment. 

Q4 : Is my donation to Buddhist Tzu Chi Merit Organization (Singapore) tax deductible? 

Buddhist Tzu Chi Merit Organization (Singapore) is a registered charity without IPC (Institution of Public Character) Status; donations made to the Organization are therefore not tax deductible. 

Q5 : How long do I need to wait before my GIRO donation is activated? 

It will take about one month for the bank to process your application after receiving your completed Giro application form. After the first successful deduction, you (and your Tzu Chi commissioner) will receive a confirmation text message via SMS or WhatsApp. If your application or the deduction is unsuccessful, you will receive a letter stating the reason and a new GIRO application form from Tzu Chi. 

Q6 : How can I cancel my monthly GIRO donations? 

You may cancel your GIRO donations via Internet Banking or download the GIRO termination form from your bank’s website and submit the completed form to the bank for processing. Please also inform us of your cancellation via email to our Accounts Department at finance@tzuchi.org.sg , stating your name, identification number, and contact number. 

Q7 : What is a Tzu Chi “Honorary Board Member”? How does one become an "Honorary Board Member"? 

Tzu Chi’s Honorary Board Membership was initiated on 16th August 1986, the day before the official opening of the Tzu Chi hospital in Hualien, Taiwan. To show her gratitude and appreciation to donors who donated at least NT$1 million to sponsor the construction of the hospital, Master Cheng Yen awarded each of them an Honorary Board Membership certificate. Today, donations from the Honorary Board Members are generally used to promote the Four Missions of Tzu Chi. These generous donors come from all walks of life; some of them are entrepreneurs while some are common, ordinary folks. They are concerned about the wellbeing and development of Tzu Chi, but are not involved in its administrative affairs. For more information, please feel free to contact us

Q8 : Can I give new or second-hand furniture or electrical appliances to Tzu Chi, to donate to its aid beneficiaries who need them? 

We appreciate your kindness and generosity. Currently, Tzu Chi does not provide transport and storage services for such donated items. We can only assist in donating the items after confirming that there are aid/care beneficiaries who really need them. As Master Cheng Yen often reminds us to provide only the best and most suitable aid items for our beneficiaries, we hope you will ensure that the items are in good working condition. If you wish to donate electrical appliances or furniture, please fill in this form online. After receiving your completed form, Tzu Chi will screen the aid/care beneficiaries for their needs and then donate your gifts of love to those who need them. 

Q9 : Does Tzu Chi accept donations-in-kind from corporations? 

Corporate donations of items, such as electronic products will be evaluated for their use and suitable items will generally be used in the Jing Si Hall or other Tzu Chi establishments. You are welcome to fill out this form to contact us, and we will get back to you.

Charity

Q1 : What is meant by “Households of Gratitude”? 

Tzu Chi addresses their aid/care recipients as "Households of Gratitude”. This is not about wanting the aid/care recipients to thank Tzu Chi for its help, but rather the volunteers are grateful to the needy for allowing them to witness poverty and illness, which reminds them to be vigilant of the impermanence in life and to be content and cherish what they have. As we give of ourselves, we must at the same time be grateful to the aid/care recipients; only then can we truly care for those who are suffering. 

Q2 : Will Tzu Chi give the donations it receives to a third-party to implement charity activities? 

Tzu Chi's Mission of Charity aims to help those in need settle down and make ends meet, as well as give them a peace of mind. Besides providing material aid, our volunteers also give emotional support to our aid/care recipients and help them eventually become self-reliant. All the home visits are carried out by trained Tzu Chi home visit volunteers, so as to ensure the direct provision of care and assistance to needy individuals or families.

Recycling

Q1 : I am not a Tzu Chi volunteer; can I still take part in recycling activities? 

Yes, we warmly welcome your participation. The second Sunday of each month is designated as Tzu Chi’s island-wide Recycling Day. You can go to the community recycling point nearest to your home and join our volunteers in sorting recyclables. Let us join forces to serve as guardians of Mother Earth! 

Q2 : Does Tzu Chi provide collection of recyclables from households? 

Sorry, we do not provide collection of recyclables from homes. If you wish to keep your recyclables for Tzu Chi, kindly sort and clean the items before bringing them to a Tzu Chi recycling point on our Recycling Day. If the items are heavy or bulky, you can borrow a small trolley/pushcart from the recycling point to carry them or take them to the Eco-Awareness Centre. We appreciate your effort in protecting the environment, to leave a clean and beautiful planet for our younger generations. 

Q3 : How does Tzu Chi deal with donated second-hand clothing or toys? 

All the recyclables and used items collected at our island-wide recycling points, including second-hand clothing and toys, are sold to recycling merchants. The recycling merchants will then ship the usable items to countries where there is a demand for such items, or send them to factories to be recycled/made into other products. 

Q4 : How does Tzu Chi use the funds generated by the sale of recyclables? 

The earnings from the sale of recyclables are channeled to Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore)’s General Fund, which is used to promote local volunteer activities, thereby “turning resources into gold, and gold into love and kindness”. 

Q5 : How do I set up a new recycling point in my neighbourhood? 

We greatly appreciate your keen interest in helping to drive the recycling effort. You may visit one of our community recycling points first and observe how we carry out recycling work. We look forward to the propagation of environmental education around Singapore. If you truly intend to kick-start a recycling point, we would love to hear from you via our enquiry form.

Q6 : How do I invite a Tzu Chi team to promote environmental awareness in my company/enterprise? 

The work of environmental protection needs the support of many more people. Kindly contact us by filling in this form

Q7 : I am a student volunteering with Tzu Chi presently. Can my volunteer time be counted as part of my “Community Involvement Programme/Community Service Programme” (CIP/CSP) hours? 

We greatly appreciate your involvement with Tzu Chi. Presently, only the time spent in doing recycling work may be counted as hours clocked for the Community Involvement Programme (CIP). We welcome you to volunteer at any of our recycling points on the second Sunday of each month or at the Eco-Awareness Centre from Monday to Saturday. Kindly please inform us of your visit at least 10 days in advance through our enquiry form, stating your full name in English, student ID number, the name of your school and the recycling point you will be volunteering at. Do remember to bring along your CIP-related document with you on the day of your volunteer-service, and we will sign the endorsement for you accordingly. For your personal safety, we encourage you to wear a sleeved-shirt, long pants, and covered shoes. Please bring your own water bottle, too.