On August 25th, despite nearing the end of their journey, Tzu Chi Youth made time to visit impoverished households in the Zamuxi Village. (Photo by Liao Yue-Hong; Lumbini, Nepal; August 25, 2023)

"What is ‘spreading the Dharma and benefiting sentient beings'?” After a trip to Lumbini, Nepal, Tzu Chi volunteer Chang Hui-Wen (張惠雯) understood.

A group of four Tzu Chi youth volunteers from Taiwan arrived in Lumbini for an eight-day journey from August 18th to 25th. In addition to passing on the mission of Tzu Chi to local youth volunteers, they also engaged with the local community; they participated in charitable visits and taught Jing Si Aphorisms at schools. Chang Hui-Wen witnessed the efforts of Tzu Chi teams from Singapore and Malaysia, who have for the last two years been dedicating themselves to fulfilling the compassionate wish of Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi, to give back to the Buddha's birthplace in Lumbini.

Chang Hui-Wen, a primary school teacher from Taiwan, was deeply struck by the stark contrast between the educational environments there and in Taiwan. She felt a profound sense of empathy for these children. She aspired to share her experiences with more children in Taiwan, to help them understand the true meaning of happiness. (Photo by Huang Hui-Wan; Lumbini, Nepal; August 20, 2023)

"I will return to Taiwan and share the inspiration from these days with more people, encouraging them to join hands in supporting others and take on the mission of giving back to the Buddha's birthplace," Chang said.

Be Content with Little

On August 18th, Taiwanese Tzu Chi youth volunteers Jiang Yu-Huan (江于函) and Huang Xun-Yuan (黃薰緣), under the guidance of senior Tzu Chi volunteers Chang Hui-Wen and Cai Ming-Xian (蔡明憲), arrived in Lumbini. The next day they organized the first-ever Tzu Chi Youth Camp in Lumbini. After a successful event, they immediately joined local volunteers in visiting the poor and promoting Jing Si Aphorisms at schools. They engaged in lively interactions with young students and taught Mandarin to volunteers and youngsters.

Tzu Chi Youth from Taiwan taught Mandarin to local volunteers and young people at the Lumbini Center. Everyone was deeply engaged in the learning process. (Photo by Yang Wen-Ting; Lumbini, Nepal; August 20, 2023)

On August 20th, they visited Shree Balrampur Secondary School in Lumbini to conduct Jing Si Aphorisms sessions. The Tzu Chi youth volunteers initiated team-building activities to break the ice with the students. They also brought love from Taiwan in the form of pencils to distribute, to create positive connections with the children. The children replied with innocent smiles and enthusiastic participation.

Chang’s experience in Lumbini affected her profoundly, especially as she knew that this was the place to which Master Cheng Yen had earnestly wished to give back. As an educator, she was deeply moved. Despite the language barrier, the educational volunteers from the Singapore and Malaysia teams had been diligently working there for over a year, and the children recognized their uniforms. Chang observed the striking difference in the educational environment between Lumbini and Taiwan; she could not help but feel for the children. They understood the importance of learning and were willing to help their families and secure their own futures. She hopes to bring back to Taiwan what she witnessed and heard and share it with more Taiwanese children, so they can appreciate the value of their blessings.

Venturing into Campuses to Share Environmental Love for the Earth

On August 24th, Tzu Chi Youth from Taiwan paid a visit to Khudabagar Adarsh College in Nepal. Despite a delayed arrival due to rain, Principal Ram Bali Yadav graciously made time to welcome them.

On August 20th, Tzu Chi Youth from Taiwan visited Shree Balrampur Secondary School, to start ice-breaking activities with the students as they made thoughtful speeches. (Photo by Amarkesh; Lumbini, Nepal; August 20, 2023)

Although some students were unable to attend due to the rain, a total of 28 students eventually joined the event. The Tzu Chi Youth engaged with the students, played games, and quickly bonded with the group.

Dipak Gupta, a second-year business student, expressed his deep appreciation for the visit of Tzu Chi Youth: “We are grateful for the joy you brought us. I also learned the importance of teamwork from the games we played. It's important for everyone to communicate clearly to avoid mistakes.”

On August 23rd, the Tzu Chi Youth group visited Siddhartha Primary School and gave pencils to the students as a way to connect with them. (Photo by Huang Hui-Wan; Lumbini, Nepal; August 23, 2023)

Tzu Chi Youth member Huang Xunyuan also shared the importance of using eco-friendly pens and advocated collecting plastic bottles to protect the environment. Principal Ram Bali Yadav said that plastic bottles can be repurposed into useful items like blankets, clothes, and hats. He shared his own experience visiting Tzu Chi's environmental protection stations in Taiwan; he witnessed Tzu Chi volunteers actively involved in environmental conservation. He received as a token a hat made from recycled plastic bottles.

The event lasted for approximately an hour, during which the students showed great enthusiasm. They took photos with the Tzu Chi Youth, fostering strong interpersonal relationships.

Whenever they visited a school, Tzu Chi Youth from Taiwan always initiated ice-breaking team-building activities. You could always see the joyful smiles on the children's faces. (Photo by Huang Hui-Wan; Lumbini, Nepal; August 23, 2023)

Visit Communities and Witness Dedicated Volunteer Poverty Alleviation

On August 24th, Tzu Chi Youth visited local volunteers and households in Nepal. Their first stop was the home of Bechu Lodh, a young man who was injured and unable to work. The volunteers assisted in repairing his roof and helped him set up a small grocery store to provide him with self-reliance opportunities.

Later, the team visited the home of Bhavachi Kurmi, an elderly lady who prepared lunch using taro leaves and generously donated rice to Tzu Chi. The Tzu Chi Youth members felt the dedicated companionship of the volunteers toward the local residents and the opportunities they provided for the community to transform their lives.

On August 24th, the Tzu Chi Youth visited the home of a young man Bechu Lodh. Due to injuries from an accident, Bechu was unable to work, and his family faced financial difficulties. Tzu Chi assisted him in opening a small grocery store to make him self-reliant. (Photo by Unish Khyaju; Lumbini, Nepal; August 24, 2023)
On August 24th, the Tzu Chi Youth visited Bhavachi Kurmi, an elderly lady. The Tzu Chi Youth had previously seen her yellow house in a presentation. Seeing it in person, each of them was deeply moved. (Photo by Chang Hui-Wen; Lumbini, Nepal; August 24, 2023)

Reluctant Farewell

At 4:30 PM, Tzu Chi volunteers from Nepal and Tzu Chi Youth from Taiwan gathered for a heartwarming event at the Tzu Chi Center. The event began with a Taiwanese indigenous folk song, “We Are All Family” and a lively dance performed in a traditional indigenous dress. Hand in hand, they danced joyfully, creating a vibrant atmosphere. Then the Tzu Chi Youth from Nepal performed the song “We Are All Tzu Ching” along with dynamic sign language dance, presenting their youthful energy and growth; they were witnessed by Tzu Chi volunteers from Singapore and Malaysia.

On August 24th, Tzu Chi Youth from Taiwan kicked off the small gathering with a Taiwanese indigenous folk song, We Are All Family. (Photo by Chang Hui-Wen; Lumbini, Nepal; August 24, 2023)

During the sharing session, Huang emotionally acknowledged the dedication of volunteers in Nepal, especially in caring for the children and improving their lives; this brought about touching moments and tears. Sumina, a Nepali volunteer, expressed her reluctance to say goodbye as she had created many beautiful memories with the Tzu Chi Youth. Another volunteer, Amarkesh, thanked the Tzu Chi Youth for organizing an exciting camp and providing everyone with enjoyable times and emphasized the importance of sharing such activities with more people.

Pass On the Mission with Love

In the final moments of their gathering, the Tzu Chi Youth invited the volunteers to join them in dancing to “The Happy Faces.” Jiang Yuhuan was filled with mixed emotions and thought about the first time they danced together; now, as they prepared to part ways, she felt deeply grateful. She emphasized that all of this became possible because volunteers from Singapore and Malaysia had initially dedicated themselves to nurturing this place in Nepal with great care; she expressed her heartfelt appreciation.

Chang invited Dr. Tang Kiat Beng (陳吉民) to participate in a flag-handing ceremony, to symbolize the passing of the mission from Tzu Chi Youth in Taiwan to their counterparts in Nepal, with the hope that they will continue to cultivate Tzu Chi's love in this land.

Tzu Chi Youth Senior Chang Hui-Wen (張惠雯, right) invited Dr. Tang Kiat Beng (陳吉民, center) to participate in a flag-handing ceremony, to symbolize the significance of passing on the mission of Tzu Chi Youth from Taiwan to the local Tzu Chi Youth. They hope that the local Tzu Chi Youth will carry forward the mission of Tzu Chi Youth and deeply nurture Tzu Chi's love in this land. (Photo by Unish Khyaju; Nepal; August 22, 2023)

Dr. Tang, the Tzu Chi head in Lumbini, expressed satisfaction with the growth of Tzu Chi Youth in Nepal and encouraged them to continue to integrate the teachings of Buddhism with their mission. Finally, they all sang the Nepali version of “We Are All Family”; this marked the perfect ending to this heartwarming and touching Tzu Chi Youth gathering, as they prepared to embark on their respective journeys.

A Jing Si Aphorism says: “To be kind and loving, we must be friendly and amiable. To be wise, we must be humble.”

Join Tzu Chi. Let us make our world a better place.

Story by Yang Wen-Ting, Huang Hui-Wan, Liao Yue-Hong, Xie Qian-Yi, and Shen Ya-Hui