Mexican Tzu Chi volunteer Ivonne Garcia Hernandez, who has regained her radiant smile thanks to Tzu Chi, is showing the value of life. | Photo by Yonghui Luo | Hualien, Taiwan | 2023/12/02

Experiencing the Joy of Giving Back

Ivonne Garcia Hernandez went from being a survivor of the 2017 Mexico earthquake to a Tzu Chi volunteer. It all began when Tzu Chi organized relief efforts in Tlahuac; she was deeply moved by the compassion and respect shown by its volunteers there, especially in creating a designated area for those with mobility challenges. Despite social inequalities and her own financial struggles as a woman caring for her family, she willingly joined the Tzu Chi effort.

In September 2021, heavy rainfall triggered severe flooding in Tula City, Hidalgo, in central Mexico. Local volunteers immediately mobilized for disaster assessment and provided care to the affected residents. On December 18, a Tzu Chi relief team responded to the ongoing flood crisis and organized a distribution event in Tula City. Ivonne García Hernandez (left) and other volunteers prepared for the distribution. | Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation | Tula, Hidalgo, Mexico | 2021/12/18

Invited to assist in registration during the relief distribution, Ivonne witnessed the equality and respect Tzu Chi showed to all. She had to balance care for her ailing mother and helping with the registration work at home; she realized the dedication required to help disaster survivors. Two years ago, her health deteriorated, hindering her ability to care for her mother. Understanding her plight, Tzu Chi supported her with her living needs, allowing her to focus on recovery. Grateful for Tzu Chi's support, she continued her involvement as a volunteer after regaining her health.

Embracing the Role of a Tzu Chi Volunteer

LEFT: The first group of Mexican volunteers became certified Tzu Chi commissioners in 2023. Ivonne (third from the left) was one of them. | Photo by Yonghui Luo | Hualien, Taiwan | 2023/12/02 ‌ ‌RIGHT: A senior Tzu Chi volunteer helped to pin a corsage on Ivonne Garcia Hernandez, on the day of their certification. | Photo by Yonghui Luo | Hualien, Taiwan | 2023/12/02

As a participant in the 2023 Global Tzu Chi Volunteer Training, Ivonne travelled with ten others from Mexico to Hualien, Taiwan. Despite facing travel and health challenges, she was grateful for Tzu Chi volunteers’ support; this has allowed her to finally fulfil her long-standing dream of meeting and receiving blessings from Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi, on December 2, 2023.

LEFT: Hurricane Otis devastated the southern coast of Mexico on October 25, 2023. From January 5 to 7, Tzu Chi volunteers organized a distribution event in Acapulco for the affected residents. Volunteers, including Leticia Cortes Sanchez, Ivonne, and Maria Gonzalez Ruvalcaba (from left to right), prayed sincerely with palms held together. | Photo by Ting Fan | Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Fátima, Acapulco, Mexico | 2024/01/05 RIGHT: At the distribution site in Acapulco, Ivonne introduced the spirit of Bamboo Bank Era to the disaster-affected residents and invited everyone to participate. | Photo by Chunlan Xu | Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Fátima, Acapulco, Mexico | 2024/01/06

During the certification ceremony, Ivonne received the lapel ribbon saying, "Take the Buddha’s Heart and Master’s Missions as Our Own,” She pledged her commitment. Master Cheng Yen gave her the Dharma name "Ci Ai," reflecting her nature of kindness (Ci) and love (Ai). Aspiring to Master’s teaching of the Three No’s, "In this world there is no one I do not love, no one I do not trust, and no one I cannot forgive," Ivonne vows to embrace and care for others with great love.

With a deep commitment to being a positive influence, she aims to inspire local volunteers to be seeds of kindness in their communities. By spreading the love and compassion of Master Cheng Yen and the spirit of Tzu Chi, she hopes to spread the message of love and kindness far and wide.