The ice bucket challenge was all over the news for the past 2 weeks, and it still is. The intention is noble and the gimmick is catchy. Thankfully, I live in a part of the world where filling up a bucket of ice water is by itself a challenge.
This craze has already hit Metro Manila, it being the most affluent part of the country. Celebrities are outdoing each other in this challenge. I hope they are doing it for the right reasons and not for the media mileage. I hope that they donated to the cause that went with the challenge.
I would like to preempt my friends not to nominate me to this challenge. It’s not because I’m not up to the challenge, but because there is a more urgent need of donations here at the home front. Ever since super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda hit Eastern Visayas, one organization has been working tirelessly to provide relief and shelter to those who were at the brink of losing hope. Now, more than 8 months later, their work still continues, and the scope has gotten bigger. From food relief, temporary shelter and temporary classrooms, this organization is now embarking on providing permanent homes to those affected by the super typhoon.
This organization is called Tzu Chi.
This was the rice distribution last July 17. I write about this only now because I thought it was too late to post something that was already covered in the official Tzu Chi Philippines newsletter a month ago. That was until the ice bucket challenge became viral. I felt that this too deserves news mileage and millions of people benefit from the work this organization does, myself included.
At the start of every Tzu Chi activity is a beautiful prayer that sets the tone for the day ahead. Tzu Chi is mostly run by volunteers, from housewives to heads of multinational companies. (click here to listen to the song)
After a short talk, everybody lines up to receive their coin banks and newsletter.
Having received aid from Tzu Chi during their times of need, each recipient has become aware of how much help their contributions will give to others during disasters and other emergencies. All donations go directly to the calamity fund.
Each person will have his or her own coin bank, with it a suggestion to put a coin each day as a reminder to do something good every day.
The able bodied can carry their own rice, while the women are assisted by local volunteers who carry the sacks to where the women can take a ride home. These volunteers do this without expecting any form of payment except gratitude from those whom they have helped, and they also receive their sack of rice.
At another venue, a different batch of recipients from another part of the city. People willingly donate whatever they can afford to Tzu Chi. No donation is too small nor too big.
One can only be awed by how a small group of volunteers can manage to make an orderly exit for a large group of people without needing to shout nor use force.
Each volunteer has a ready smile, a courteous bow, a kind word or a kind touch. They know how to connect to people because they themselves were once victims of a calamity. It takes one to know the needs of another.
The distribution, viewed from the top.
Love from Taiwan. Love from a fellow human being. Spread the love.
Thank you, Tzu Chi.
I take this opportunity to challenge everyone to make a donation to the Buddhist Compassion Relief, the Tzu Chi Foundation. Here is the link to their site. http://www.tzuchi.org/