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Home Our Missions Mission of Charity Tzu Chi Opens Chinas 1st Overseas NGO Office

Tzu Chi Opens Chinas 1st Overseas NGO Office

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On Friday, August 20, 2010, the Tzu Chi Foundation opened the first local office of an overseas Non-Government Organization (NGO) in China, in the eastern city of Suzhou in Jiangsu province.  The opening ceremony was held at the foundation’s Jing Shi Shu Yuan (Still Thoughts classical academy), in the presence of Mr. Chen Yunlin, chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS),  Mr. Qi Xiaofei, deputy director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), and other officials from the central and provincial governments. ARATS is the top government agency dealing with Taiwan affairs.

The event is a landmark in Tzu Chi’s history in China, which began in 1991 when it provided emergency aid to survivors of the worst floods for a century devastated its central and eastern regions. Tzu Chi also implemented mid- and long-term reconstruction projects for the flood survivors; it provided them with homes in which they could start new lives and put their minds at ease. In the twenty years since then, the foundation has continued charity work in the towns which it helped to rebuild. This has included houses for more than 4,400 families, more than 50 schools, homes for the aged, women’s and children’s centers, and a hospital and free clinics for the sick and needy. In addition, it has shared with local people its humanistic values, such as “giving with gratitude” and "constantly showing filial piety to parents and kindness to all human beings”.

Over the past twenty years, 28 provinces, cities and autonomous regions in China have received aid from Tzu Chi. These projects include reconstruction projects after the Sichuan earthquake, installing water cisterns and relocating villages in Gansu and Guizhou provinces, relief goods to poverty-stricken areas, winter distributions, home visits to the needy, construction of schools, scholarships to needy students, bone marrow donations, free medical clinic and environmental protection and recycling programs.

In 2006 and 2008, Tzu Chi received China Charity Awards from the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China for its work in promoting the well-being of society and relieving the suffering of the needy.

In recognition of its work for near 20 years, the government authorized Tzu Chi to establish a nationwide charity foundation, the first and until now the only overseas non-profit organization to receive such permission.  This foundation is registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and works under the supervision of the State Administration of Religious Affairs. The registration will enable the foundation to take greater responsibilities and play a more active role in disaster relief and charity work in China. At a time when, like other countries, China is hit by natural disasters, Tzu Chi will help strengthen the disaster relief work as well as enhance the welfare and harmony of society.

Volunteers played a very active role in the aftermath of the terrible Sichuan earthquake in May 2008. They arrived in the disaster zone on May 14, two days after it struck, to provide relief goods, care and comfort to the survivors. Since then, they have continued to care for the affected residents in Sichuan, alleviating their misery and helping them rebuild their lives. To provide a proper educational environment for the young, it helped to rebuild 13 schools in the affected areas and has also successfully promoted recycling programs among local communities.

The founder of the Tzu Chi Foundation, Dharma Master Cheng Yen, believes that Great Love transcends all national, religious and racial boundaries and hopes that this spirit will spread throughout the world. As people are inspired to show greater care and concern for others, the gap between the rich and the poor can be narrowed, people getting closer, and the relationship between the nature and the humankind become more harmonious. Such pure and great love will endure over time and be witnessed by the history of nature and human beings.

As Tzu Chi establishes its foundation in China, its volunteers will continue to follow the spirit of selfless giving that has guided it for 44 years and show the compassion which feels the pain and suffering of others as their own.  They aim to transcend all racial, cultural and political boundaries and work to purify people’s minds and actions, to bring harmony to society and create a world free of disasters.

Reuters: Taiwan Buddhist charity Tzu Chi sets up shop in atheist China (08/20/210)

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