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Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Broadens NGO Partnerships to Aid Refugees from Ukraine

Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation CEO Po Wen Yen outlines Tzu Chi’s ongoing relief initiatives during the signing with four new partners on 2 June. Image courtesy of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

Seeking to bolster its response to the refugee crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Taiwan-headquartered charity and humanitarian organization Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation has joined hands with four NGOs, aiming to bring their combined resources to save and improve the lives of Ukrainian refugees.

“Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is partnering with Airlink, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Project HOPE, and World Hope International to resource war-torn Ukrainian communities and Moldovan communities hosting refugees with medicines, medical supplies, and other items necessary to treat conflict-related trauma and provide healthcare related to chronic illnesses, primary care, maternal and newborn health, mental health, and infectious diseases, at a value of US$3 million,” Tzu Chi said in an announcement seen by BDG.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on 24 February, has forced more than 5.8 million Ukrainians to flee their country, according to UNHCR data, in what is reported to be the biggest movement of refugees in Europe since the Second World War. For many of the people and families fleeing the conflict, the first stop is Poland. Groups of Tzu Chi volunteers from Europe, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States have gathered in the Polish cities of Warsaw, Lublin, and Poznan to offer humanitarian assistance.

The main goal of the Tzu Chi’s new partnership is to deliver critically needed medicines, medical equipment and supplies for providing trauma care and primary medical care; strengthen overburdened and under-resourced health systems in Ukraine and Moldova; and remove transportation and logistics barriers to increase aid to support internally displaced people in Ukraine and refugees in Moldova. The five organizations signed a memorandum of understanding for the partnership on 2 June.

“In recognizing that this crisis requires collaborative efforts to ensure that all needs are met with compassion, gratitude, respect, and love, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is excited to partner with Airlink, ADRA, Project HOPE, and World Hope International to provide to provide necessities and medical items to displaced Ukrainians,” said Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation CEO Po-Wen Yen.

Airlink is a global humanitarian nonprofit delivering critical aid to communities in crisis by providing airlift and logistical solutions to nonprofit partners. ADRA is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, working to provide sustainable community development and disaster relief. Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian organization working side-by-side with local health systems to improve health and support community resilience. World Hope International addresses poverty and injustice through market-based and community-led programs in its core focus areas of global health, protection, clean water and energy, and social ventures.

Image courtesy of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

Tzu Chi’s new partnership initiative follows the foundation’s launch of its humanitarian aid initiative in March: “Love & Compassion for Ukraine,” through which Tzu Chi aims to provide critical supplies for individuals and families fleeing the war.* Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation’s work for the people of Ukraine includes delivering essential supplies to refugee families across three cities in Poland, as well as providing them with access to psychosocial and emotional-spiritual care.

“With our common mission to serve humanity and inspire others, we trust this interfaith partnership will assist the refugees both in material needs and emotional support,” said Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation CEO Po-Wen Yen. “One’s strength may be small, but together, we can move mountains.” (Tzu Chi)

Donations to “Love & Compassion for Ukraine” may be made here

The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, Republic of China, more widely known as the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, was founded in Taiwan in 1966 by the Buddhist nun and Dharma teacher Master Cheng Yen. With a focus on “putting compassion into action,” the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is a UN-accredited NGO with some 10 million supporters and 432 offices worldwide across 51 countries, undertaking regular activities in the fields of humanitarian aid, medical care, education, and environmental sustainability.

As a global icon of socially engaged Buddhism, Master Cheng Yen has expressed a deeply held belief that all people are capable of manifesting the same great compassion as the Buddha. She has noted that true compassion is not simply feeling sympathy for the suffering of others, but is found in reaching out to relieve suffering with concrete action.

Master Cheng Yen is popularly known in Taiwan as one of the “Four Heavenly Kings” of Buddhism, the others being Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain; Master Hsing Yun, founder of Fo Guang Shan; and Master Wei Chueh, founder of Chung Tai Shan. These four global Buddhist orders, correspondingly known as the “Four Great Mountains,” have grown to become among the most influential Chinese Buddhist organizations in the world.

Tzu Chi founder and spiritual leader Master Cheng Yen. From tzuchi.org.tw

* Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Responds to Ukraine Refugee Crisis (BDG), Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Contributes US$10 million to UNICEF Effort to Aid Children Affected by War in Ukraine (BDG), and Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Distributes 45,000 Aid Vouchers to Ukrainian Refugees (BDG)

See more

Tzu Chi
Tzu Chi USA
Airlink
ADRA
Project HOPE
World Hope International
Ukraine Refugee Situation (UNHCR)
Ukraine emergency (UNHCR)

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