The year 2016 has been a tough year for Vietnam.
Impoverished by the worst drought and salt water intrusion in more than 90 years that lasted for 24 months since late 2014 affecting 2 million people in 18 provinces (UN Viet Nam, 27th Oct 2016), the long-awaited monsoon rain brought the country into the other extreme: 5 consecutive floods in just 2 months affecting 18 provinces, causing 134 deaths and landing 1 million people in need of recovery assistance. (UN Viet Nam Sit. Report 1, 31st Dec 2016).
In response to this dire situation, Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation in Vietnam has conducted distributions of relief cash, food and goods in immediate response. One was held in June 2016 in Ben Tre province when 397 volunteers from 4 countries including more than 300 local volunteers, came together in response to the request for assistance from The People’s Aid Coordinating Committee (PACCOM). The distribution benefited 1,600 families (5,600 villagers) with 2 months’ worth of drinking water, rice, oil, sugar, etc. And another was in late October where consolation cash were delivered to flood affected residents of Quang Binh Province, Tuyen Hoa community.
As the year 2016 comes to an end, Tzu Chi held another round of aid distributions targeting more than 2,000 impoverished families throughout Viet Nam.
In Cu Chi of Ho Chi Minh City for example, Tzu Chi held a year-end aid distribution for 300 families, bringing them monetary aid and daily necessities.
As with all other distributions, the ceremony was conducted with the principle of directness and respect in mind. Rice, vegetable oil and rice flour neatly packed into reusable carriers are delivered directly to the hands of the residents with two hands, a bow and a big smile.
Besides alleviating the material needs, the greater aim was always to inspire goodness in more people, that being able to give is the most blessed, and the act of giving itself is a power of love that would lift the minds into a higher state of self-esteem and joy. Volunteers therefore used the coin bank as the topic opener to share with the residents, that although 50 cents sound a little, but many a little makes a mackle; it can become a lot when many 50 cents are saved, and can be used to do good deeds. Many residents shared the cause and dropped their bits of love into the coin banks as the volunteers went down the aisles.
Vice president of Ho Chi Minh City Red Cross, Mr. Nguyen Hoang An, shared “I hope that Red Cross in Ho Chi Minh City can continue to work and learn with Tzu Chi and does everything possible to help disadvantaged residents.”
The ceremonies round up in a heart-warming atmosphere with much gratefulness. ================================================
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