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Tzu Chi launches global fundraising campaign to help tsunami victims

Members of the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation around the world will start a campaign to raise funds for earthquake and tsunami victims in South Asia on Jan. 1, 2005. The campaign in Taiwan will last three months until March 31.

After Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi Foundation, made an open appeal on Dec. 28 for donations of love to South Asia, various Tzu Chi groups and the public have responded enthusiastically.

Employees of the Taichung-based Vitalon Food Co. donated half-month salaries, totaling NT$5.4 million (US$163,000) to Tzu Chi on Dec. 28 in response to the appeal.

Several residents in the eastern city of Hualien visited Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Center in the past two days to make donations, as well as some patients. Physicians and nurses supported the campaign by donating valuable articles for charity sale at a corner of the hospital's lobby.

A three-day charity sale was held at the Jing Si Hall from Dec. 30 for staff members of Tzu Chi's organizations to make contributions.

Many individual and group visitors also made donations when they visited Jing Si Abode. A middle-aged lady donated NT$200,000 (US$6,000) on Dec. 30.

Tzu Chi's educational institutions, including Tzu Chi University, Tzu Chi College of Technology, Tzu Chi Junior High School, and Tzu Chi Elementary School, decided to donate one-day's incomes.

Over 200 Tzu Chi collegiate members from 12 countries, who are attending a leadership camp at Tzu Chi Headquarters at the Jing Si Abode, have donated their pocket money totaling US$1,500.

Master Cheng Yen said that the donations will not only help relieve the suffering of the victims, but also inspire the people's kindness, adding that as all people live under the same sky and stand on the same land, "When disaster strikes on region, everyone everywhere ought to help."

It is estimated that more than half a million Tzu Chi members around the world will take to the streets to solicit thoughts and donations of love in the coming weeks in Taiwan, the United States, Malaysia and other countries where there are Tzu Chi offices.

This is the third time that Tzu Chi, a humanitarian institution established in 1966, has launched a large-scale fundraising campaign for international relief effort. In 1998, Tzu Chi raised funds to aid hurricane victims in Central and South America. In 1999, Tzu Chi solicited donations to help victims of the Aug. 17 earthquake in Turkey.


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