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Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Shares Compassion with 3,000 Ukrainian Refugees in Poland

Ceremony for the distribution of financial aid in Opole, Poland. From poland.postsen.com

Continuing its response to the ongoing refugee crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Taiwan-headquartered charity and humanitarian organization Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation recently distributed cash cards to refugees being sheltered in Poland’s Opole County.

“The catastrophe that has befallen Ukraine has caused millions of refugees to flee and many poor countries to suffer from hunger. To relieve suffering needs compassion and loving-kindness,” Tzu Chi shared in a recent report. “It is very easy to cultivate a compassionate heart: just do good deeds in small ways, such as saving coins in a coin bank and donating money to help people in need. The beauty of all good deeds lies in the compassion in our hearts. From now on, let us work hard to cultivate a compassionate heart. Cherish all living beings and spread our love and care.” (Tzu Chi)

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on 24 February, has forced more than 6.3 million Ukrainians to flee their country, according to UNHCR data on 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.

Image Courtesy of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
Image Courtesy of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

Tzu Chi representative in Poland Radosław Atlas explained that the refugees would be able to use Tzu Chi’s gift cards in various ways: “They can be used at all retail outlets that accept Mastercard and Visa credit cards. They can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs.” (Poland Posts English)

Tzu Chi earlier cash cards worth a combined 2.5 million Polish zlotys (US$541,000) to 1,300 people. On this occasion, Tzu Chi has distributed 3,000 cash cards, each worth 1,000 zlotys (US$216) to refugees from Ukraine who have been housed across 15 municipalities in Opole.

“The recipients were selected by the municipal authorities,” Atlas added. “Distribution depends on how the municipalities approached the task—we know, for example, that mothers with children are a priority group.” (Poland Posts English)

“We are pleased with this further support from Tzu Chi Foundation because our ability to help is limited,” said Arkadiusz Wiśniewski, mayor of the city of Opole, the historical capital of Upper Silesia. “Here we have something that deserves the highest praise: the humanitarian aid from Taiwan.”

The mayor of the nearby town of Niemodlin, Dorota Koncewicz, noted that while the number of refugees there had been declining recently, support was still very much needed and the nature of the aid provided was changing: “Today we are at such a stage that we have secured jobs for some refugees. This is especially true for those who do not have small children to care for. Some refugees have become independent, but they need to find housing. This is what we are facing now.” (Poland Posts English)

Tzu Chi’s humanitarian activities in the region have gathered pace in the wake of the launch of the foundation’s 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

See more

Tzu Chi
Tzu Chi USA
Ukraine Refugee Situation (UNHCR)
Kolejna pomoc z Tajwanu dla uchodźców na Opolszczyźnie. Skorzysta 3 tysiące osób (Radio Opole)

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Tshomo
Tshomo
7 months ago

Respected your holiness Master Cheng,
I am highly motivated by going through and know all your awaken deeds. Thank you for being there for all the sentients beings. I wish I could part take in your journery as I am too a Bhudhist practictioner wanting to serve all sentients.
With all my love and wishes
frm Bhutan

Buddhistdoor Global
Admin
Buddhistdoor Global
6 months ago
Reply to  Tshomo

Many thanks for your feedback!

Craig