Since Hurricane George devastated Central and South America in 1998, Tzu Chi has continued to provide aid to the region. In La Romana in the Dominican Republic, they went a step further by establishing the Tzu Chi School to help transform a community living near a garbage dump.
In June 2023, the La Romana City Council passed a bill naming the bus route adjacent to the Tzu Chi School "Tzu Chi Road." Renowned mural artist Bella led students and community members in adorning the school's walls with vibrant murals, infusing the neighborhood with vitality and hope.
On August 6, a simple yet heartwarming plaque-unveiling ceremony took place, with Council Member Rafael in attendance. He emphasized that, before proposing the bill, the council had consulted the residents. They overwhelmingly supported the idea, which led to the plaque being unveiled on this special day.
Zhu Ci-Yao (朱慈瑤), head of the Tzu Chi Dominican Office, expressed her gratitude to the local volunteers who have continuously worked to make the Tzu Chi School a place where children love to learn, and where various community projects are paving the way towards a better future.
The news of Tzu Chi Road's naming inspired mural artist Bella to start a three-week project involving students and community members. The mural, spanning 100 meters, is divided into seven themes, including medical missions, the bamboo coin bank, and environmental conservation -- all reflecting Tzu Chi’s humanistic spirit. Bella explained: "Starting near the school gate, the mural depicts a girl looking at a book, with radiance emanating from behind it, symbolizing education as a source of hope. Various stationery items are painted beside her."
The mural's final section features the word "compassion" -- hands tightly clasped together, and a lotus flower representing Tzu Chi's philosophy of remaining pure despite adversity, with the hope that the world can be like a lotus flower. Tzu Chi Road extends from the school to the main road, covering over 700 meters, symbolizing the community's journey towards a brighter future, driven by great love.
Tzu Chi's unwavering care for the Dominican Republic over the past 25 years has not gone unnoticed. The La Romana City Council even presented the "City Key" to Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi, to express their gratitude for her dedication to the welfare of the poor. Through charitable acts and the construction of schools, Tzu Chi has ensured that children living near garbage dumps receive an education and that the underprivileged can reverse their fortunes.
A Jing Si Aphorism says: “The path to lifelong education begins with nurturing kindness and discipline from an early age, fostering habits that will benefit us throughout our lives.”
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Story by Zhu Ci-Yao, Raymond, and Carlos, Dominican Republic Report