The socially engaged Buddhist charity organization Tzu Chi Foundation Australia will provide A$800 (US$550) in cash donations to each of the 300 Mid Coast households whose properties were damaged or destroyed in the catastrophic 8 November bushfires. In addition to the financial support, Tzu Chi is providing gift packs that include a letter from Tzu Chi’s founder, Dharma Master Cheng Yen.
“To be eligible to receive the A$800 payment, your household needs to be one of the 300 partially damaged or totally destroyed on 8 November and whose details are known to the Mid Coast Council,” said Tzu Chi spokesperson Robert Frazer. “Simply put, if your household is on the council’s list, you can receive the A$800.” (Manning River Times)
According to the Manning River Times newspaper, Tzu Chi representatives will distribute the prepaid debit cards to victims tomorrow.
“Households that are eligible but who have not yet registered with Tzu Chi are welcome to attend but please come early, at midday, so we can register your details,” Frazer added. (Manning River Times)
Founded by Buddhist nun and Dharma teacher Cheng Yen in Taiwan in 1966, the Tzu Chi Foundation, which focuses on “putting compassion into action” is a UN-accredited NGO with some 10 million supporters in 51 countries across 432 offices worldwide. The Australian branch is based in Eastwood, New South Wales, and its regular activities include weekly bread distribution to the financially disadvantaged, visits to nursing homes, and periodic home, free music, and art therapy for autistic children at Tzu Chi’s premises in Eastwood.
On 16 November, a team of Tzu Chi volunteers under the banner “2019 Bushfire Appeal Street Fundraising” took to the streets of Eastwood to fundraise in response to the devastating bushfires.
Meanwhile, China’s Xinhua News Agency reported that volunteers raised A$2,686 among members of Sydney’s Chinese community, which was handed over to the Tzu Chi Foundation.
“Although we raised only a little amount of money, I know it will go directly to the victims of this natural disaster and hopefully help play a small part in rebuilding their homes,” said Andrew Xiang, a fitness instructor at Neighborhood Eastwood and Eastwood Chinese Senior Citizen Club, who led the fundraising event. (Xinhua).
“Our hearts go out to those affected by these catastrophic bushfires. As a charity we focus on providing the most relevant support we can, which in this case we believe is direct financial assistance,” said Tzu Chi’s Frazer. “We want to reach as many affected households as we can so if you are eligible or know someone that is, please let them know and come along this Saturday [21 December].” (Manning River Times)
Australia is suffering from a devastating bushfire season, with wildfires raging across several states. New South Wales has been the worst hit, with more than 1.65 million hectares of land destroyed. Six people have so far lost their lives and about 670 homes and 1,400 structures have been destroyed. Six million residents of New South Wales have been bracing for the worst, as the disaster continues to grip the state.
Buddhist charity provides cash donation for bushfire affected homes (Manning River Times)
Feature: Sydney’s Chinese community raises money for Aussie bushfire victims (Xinhua)
Tzu Chi Australia (Facebook)