The Taiwan-headquartered charity and humanitarian organization Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation has offered US$10 million to support UNICEF’s response to the growing refugee crisis that has resulted from Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
“The war in Ukraine is a child crisis. Every day, more children are fleeing their homes, leaving everything they know behind in a desperate search for safety,” Tzu Chi quoted the director of UNICEF’s Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division in Geneva, Carla Haddad Mardini, as saying. “As the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate, the support from the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation will enable us to reach many more children and families who need our assistance.” (Tzu Chi)
The support for UNICEF follows the foundation’s launch of its own humanitarian aid initiative in March: “Love & Compassion for Ukraine,” through which it aims to provide critical supplies for individuals and families fleeing the war.*
“To date, nearly 4.7 million refugees have crossed from Ukraine into neighboring countries. UNICEF estimates that over two million refugees are children, many are separated or unaccompanied,” Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation stated in a recent announcement shared with BDG. “The support from Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation will help UNICEF provide critical protection services for children and families, including the identification of unaccompanied children, psychosocial support, and protection from sexual exploitation and abuse, among others.” (Tzu Chi)
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. The foundation has said that it aims to expand this aid initiative to more than 15,000 individuals by the end of June.
“Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and neighboring countries. With our core value of relieving suffering regardless of religion, ethnicity, and culture, our foundation is committed to supporting the health and well-being of children and families at this critical time,” said Tzu Chi Foundation board vice chairman Po-Wen Yen. “It will take collaborative efforts from governments, corporations, NGOs, and local communities to ensure that all needs are met with compassion, gratitude, respect, and love. Therefore, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is proud to support UNICEF to provide necessary services to the most vulnerable children and families displaced by the Ukrainian crisis.” (Tzu Chi)
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.
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