Engaged Buddhism: The Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation brings hope and education to Malawi

- through Henry Oudin

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Principal Stone shared how the nursery has created learning opportunities for local children. Image courtesy of the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation

The global charity and humanitarian organization headquartered in Taiwan, the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation, recently announced that Tzu Chi volunteers from South Africa and local volunteers from Malawi have carried out a care mission in the village of Chigoujiu in Malawi from April 27 to May 2.

Among Tzu Chi's initiatives in the village, nestled in a mountainous region of the landlocked southern central African country, is a self-funded kindergarten built by Tzu Chi Malawi volunteers after Cyclone Ana devastated the area. in early 2022, and a new property, built in cooperation with local residents. The area was also affected by Cyclone Freddy in February-March 2023.

“When Tzu Chi volunteers from South Africa and Malawi entered (the) village. . . they were warmly welcomed by a large group of cheerful villagers on the hilly red ground,” Tzu Chi said in a report seen by BDG. “Behind them was the nursery and medical post they had helped rebuild. »

Volunteers from South Africa and Malawi were warmly welcomed by a group of cheerful villagers. Image courtesy of the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation
The chief of Chigoujiu, second from the right, and the director of the crèche, third from the left, with volunteer teachers. Image courtesy of the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation

The Javadu village chief said that this project has not only improved the overall quality of life of the community, but has also had a profound impact on the lives of children, who receive education in school as well as nutritious porridge. , prepared daily.

“Dedicated volunteer teachers at the crèche give valuable lessons to the children. . . (and) took the initiative to design their own educational materials, tailored to the needs of children,” Tzu Chi noted.

Originally designed for 100 students, the school has already exceeded capacity due to a growing enthusiasm for learning among local children. Children enjoy free education and receive certificates upon graduation, which facilitates their enrollment in local primary schools and paves the way for other educational opportunities.

The village chief of Chigoujiu expresses his gratitude to Tzu Chi for helping improve the village. Image courtesy of the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation

“Inside the Chigoujiu nursery, colorful numbers, English letters and the Chichewa alphabet adorn the pink walls,” Tzu Chi explained. “The crèche follows a weekly curriculum of various subjects, including knowledge, sports and culture lessons; they provide full education to the children five half-days a week. Generously, Tzu Chi volunteer Michael from Malawi donated a television, allowing the children to watch cartoons. In addition, during the holidays, television is made available to the villagers against payment. The funds generated by this service contribute to the sustainable operation of the nursery.

According to the Javadu village chief, after Chigoujiu was hit by Cyclone Ana in 2022, Tzu Chi volunteers in Malawi offered post-disaster relief, raised funds and built a well. Their efforts have improved the environmental and living conditions of local residents.

This new well has not only improved the hygiene of the children in the crèche but has benefited the whole village. Image courtesy of the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation

The Tzu Chi volunteers also built two dry pit latrines for the village and a kitchen. Efforts are currently underway to raise funds for the medical post.

"Our goal is not only to educate children and fill their minds with knowledge, but also to cultivate love in their hearts," said Tzu Chi volunteer Heng-Min Zhu from South Africa. .

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

As a global icon of socially engaged Buddhism, Master Cheng Yen expressed his deep belief that everyone is capable of manifesting the same great compassion as the Buddha. She noted that true compassion is not just about feeling sympathy for the suffering of others, but is found in reaching out to relieve suffering through concrete actions.

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, known as the "four great mountains", have become one of the most influential Chinese Buddhist organizations in the world.

Founder of Tzu Chi and spiritual leader Master Cheng Yen. At tzuchi.org.tw

Education emphasizes the growth of wisdom and opens the door to compassion; learning emphasizes giving and service to others.

— Dharma Master Cheng Yen

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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