PETALING JAYA: A name synonymous with charity and giving back to society, the Tzu Chi Foundation has been engaged in humanitarian work since it was founded in 1966 by Dharma Master Cheng Yen in Taiwan.
Cheng was only 29 when she received her calling to contribute to the betterment of society globally.
The volunteer-based, spiritual and welfare organisation aims to render material aid and inspire love and humanity in both givers and receivers.
Since its founding, the foundation has dedicated itself in the field of charity, medicine, education, environment protection, as well as the promotion of humanistic values and community volunteerism and has provided its service worldwide.
Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia was established in 1993 and currently has more than three million local donors and members, and more than 2,000 volunteers in 16 branches who provide assistance to communities in need.
“When we say humanitarian work, we can define it as both a means to help those in need, and a way to open the eyes of the volunteers and donors to the harsher side of life. Through that, they will be able to see that by giving, they may find spiritual happiness and the true meaning of life,” said Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia volunteer, Yeo Kar Peng (pix).
In Malaysia, Tzu Chi has provided emergency aid and institutional care, where its volunteers pay regular visits to welfare homes to spread love and cheer to the residents.
The foundation also provides medical aid through its free clinics in Malacca, Kuala Lumpur and Klang and through the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) that was established in 1996.
TIMA is known for its constant medical outreach programmes to various communities and remote villages across Malaysia to provide medical consultation and treatment while raising health awareness.
Tzu Chi also established a Tzu-Chi Dialysis Centre in Penang in 1997 after finding that many who were receiving its aid were suffering from kidney failure.
Five years later, two more dialysis centres were set up in Butterworth and Jitra in Kedah to provide free treatment regardless of race or religion.
The foundation has also helped in the education sector by introducing more kindergartens and schools that focus on character development and the inculcation of wholesome values in children.
“Children are the hope of society, and education is what gives hope to children,” Yeo said.
Apart from providing financial and emergency aid and education for children around the globe, the Foundation is also renowned for its contributions to protecting the environment through the adoption of vegetarianism by its volunteers and supporters, who use their own eating utensils and reusable shopping bags wherever they go.
In 1995, Tzu Chi started its environment protection initiatives in Malaysia and to date, about 160 recycling centres and over 980 recycling points have been set up across the country to make environment protection a way of life for Malaysians.