I wish to start by expressing my sincere gratitude to you all for your support over the years. It is only through your contributions of money, time, efforts, and love, that Tzu Chi has been able to expand its charitable care to 133 countries and regions across the world.
For 57 years, Dharma Master Cheng Yen has led her disciples to go among people and help those in suffering. Through practical actions of assistance, Tzu Chi’s efforts to bring purity to people’s hearts, create harmony in society, and reduce the disasters in the world have never stopped.
Even with the gradual reduction of the threat of COVID-19 in 2022, numerous disasters of various scales continue to occur along with the worsening climate change. Millions of Ukrainians have become refugees due to the Russia-Ukraine war, which has also exacerbated the energy crisis and led to food shortages and inflation. These problems are of great concern for people worldwide, and are also a focus of Tzu Chi’s charitable work.
When the Russia-Ukraine war started, Tzu Chi volunteers from twelve countries mobilized to Poland to assist Ukrainian refugees. By collaborating with eleven international NGOs, Tzu Chi’s humanitarian assistance has reached refugees in Ukraine and eight neighboring countries, providing shopping cards, cash value cards, winter supplies, health and medical care, medical supplies, language training and children’s education, psychological and legal consultation, individual financial subsidies, and more. Altogether, over 1.78 million people benefited from these efforts in 2022 alone.
In response to the problems and challenges caused by the changing global situation, Tzu Chi is working to be a constructive and benevolent societal influence. The seventh Tzu Chi Forum held in October focused on solving societal problems under the recovery from COVID-19. Discussion topics included how to reach net zero carbon emissions, how to foster intergenerational collaboration and equality among generations, and how to engage multidimensional global and local actors in collaborations to bridge the digital and economic divides.
In Taiwan, Tzu Chi has signed memorandums of cooperation with twenty-two counties and cities in Taiwan and sixteen central and local professional institutions at all levels to form a comprehensive disaster relief work chain for disaster prevention, reduction, and preparedness. We also joined the “Taiwan Digital Health Industry Development Association,” led by the Industrial Technology Research Institute and Hon Hai Group, to protect the health of the elderly in rural areas, vulnerable families, and those living alone, with the goal to gradually ensure that both individuals and communities can live healthy and fulfilling lives.
Tzu Chi was approved by the National Fire Agency, Ministry of the Interior as a disaster prevention training institution in 2020. In 2022, an emotional care worker training system was established to complement disaster prevention expertise with emotional care skills. In 2022, we launched the “Plantarium” vegetarian concept space in Taipei as a trailblazer in strengthening the vegetarian food trend, especially among young people. We also organized the first Tzu Chi International Youth Association (TIYA) Sustainability Annual Conference and an International Youth Leadership Training Program to strengthen the leadership of youth in sustainability issues.
As part of its “glocalization” strategy, Tzu Chi participated in sixteen United Nations and international platform meetings and collaborated with over twenty international non-governmental organizations. By working with well-reputed charitable, religious, and humanitarian relief organization partners, aid operations can be completed quickly and efficiently even in complex political, economic, and epidemic situations. Tzu Chi’s charitable work, which included international poverty alleviation, epidemic prevention assistance, refugee care, education assistance, disaster relief and reconstruction, free medical consultation, and cash assistance, reached 57 countries and regions in 2022 alone.
Following Venerable Yin Shun’s words to work “for Buddha’s teachings and for sentient beings,” Tzu Chi volunteers from Malaysia and Singapore went to India and Nepal to “give back to the Buddha’s homeland.” In the impoverished villages surrounding famous Buddhist pilgrimage sites, the plight of life and the lack of medical care and education are very serious. Tzu Chi has engaged in events ranging from epidemic prevention and poverty alleviation to assisting local communities by constructing free clinics, dialysis centers, and children’s homes.
In another milestone, the U Theatre and the Tang Mei Yun Taiwanese Opera Company together with nearly 20,000 Tzu Chi volunteer performers staged the world premiere of “The Essence of the Lotus Sutra” at the Kaohsiung Arena. The sutra adaptation reflects the wisdom revealed by the Buddha over 2,500 years ago, as well as the concept of universal love displayed by Tzu Chi volunteers and donors worldwide.
The main theme for the 2023 Global Risk Report from the World Economic Forum is “Today’s Crisis, Tomorrow’s Catastrophes.” In the spirit of transformation in the present to prepare for the future, Tzu Chi’s strategy includes a “Net Zero carbon emissions” initiative that will reduce greenhouse gas sources and concretely increase green energy production, as well as plans to further improve governance and information transparency and to expand the participation of youth and the public in charitable endeavors. Our strategy is fully aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and will strengthen Tzu Chi’s Environment, Society, and Governance work (ESG) and Social Corporate Responsibility (CSR) reporting. By focusing on four key areas: establishing systems and strengthening governance, transmitting the good teachings and cultivating talents, cultivating global partnerships for the common good, and working toward information optimization and finance revitalization, we continue to work together for the sustainability of the earth and humankind.
CEO of Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation
(From the 2022 Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation Annual Report)