Report by Chi-Lin Hou and Dai-Jung Lin | South Africa

The children hold up their vouchers ready to collect the food packages. | Screenshot from Da Ai News | 2024/05

As winter approaches in the Southern Hemisphere, Tzu Chi volunteers in South Africa have spent five days distributing 3,000 food packages to ten schools, aiming to provide adequate food for impoverished children during the cold season.

Rows of neatly arranged supplies, including rice, awaited the children, who eagerly clutched their vouchers. "Some students rely solely on school meals. Today is Friday, and some will need to find their own food during the holiday, so the food packages from Tzu Chi ensure they won't go hungry," explained Principal Nthabiseng Sebola, visibly relieved as she saw the children receive their packages.

In mid-May, over five consecutive days, volunteers visited ten schools and distributed 3,000 food packages to help impoverished families endure the cold winter. | Screenshot from Da Ai News | 2024/05

Despite the bright sunshine, the impending winter worried Tzu Chi volunteers. Starting in mid-May, they visited ten schools over five consecutive days, distributing 3,000 food packages. Grateful students expressed their thanks, saying, "I pray for Master's health. I'm thankful for the chocolate, soybeans, and food to cook meals."

The recipients come from impoverished families living in small, makeshift tin huts with five people living in a space barely five square meters big. Economic instability forces children to survive on just one meal a day. "Many children live in very poor conditions," said Tzu Chi volunteer Emily Lu (呂月霞). "After school, there's no place to do homework. Some even lie on the ground. It’s heartbreaking."

Those who came to receive the supplies are from impoverished families living in makeshift tin huts. With unstable sources of income, their growing children can only afford one meal a day. | Screenshot from Da Ai News | 2024/ 05

The food packages from Tzu Chi have significantly lightened the parents' burdens. "We are very grateful for what you do for our children. They are also very thankful," said a parent.

Delivering food before the snow falls has also inspired parents' compassion. "When you’re willing to give, it's out of love," said Tim Huang (黃騰緯), CEO of Tzu Chi South Africa. "Sharing love with everyone embodies the spirit of the Bamboo Bank Era.” Encouraging everyone to contribute a bit of kindness can start the path to overcoming poverty.