Issac (left) and his translator, Martha Sande (right), who has been studying Chinese in Taiwan since 2022 (1 year and 10 months). Her father passed away, and her mother became a certified volunteer in 2022. | Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation | Xindian Jing Si Hall, Taiwan | 2023/12/16

On December 16th, during a volunteer certification ceremony led by Master Cheng Yen at the Jing Si Hall in Xindian, Taipei, everyone could feel the hope and joy of a 25-year-old Zimbabwean named Isaac. Born into a prosperous family as the only son with three sisters, Isaac started his journey to become a Tzu Chi volunteer at the age of eleven. After completing high school, he made the heartfelt decision to join Tzu Chi as a full-time staff member, and eventually became a leader of a team that drills wells for those without access to running water.

Isaac's journey with Tzu Chi began under the guidance of his father, who has been a dedicated Tzu Chi volunteer for the past 15 years. His father often shared touching Tzu Chi stories and Jing Si Aphorisms, and laid the foundation for Isaac's deep connection with the organization.

In 2008, Tzu Chi volunteer Tino Zhu from Taiwan initiated a charity haircut event for schoolchildren in Zimbabwe. This left a lasting impression on many people. During one such event, Isaac noticed the slow progress and asked his father: "why is it so slow?" His father responded with profound wisdom: "More people, more power." Touched by this sentiment, Isaac decided to dedicate his weekends and holidays to help, bringing warmth and smiles to those in need.

In Zimbabwe, where local water and sanitation conditions are generally poor, Tzu Chi volunteers have invited hairdressers to join a community outreach program. This initiative offers free haircuts and meals to help parents in struggling families alleviate some of their financial burdens. | Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation | Zimbiru, Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe | 2023/02/09

"One time I joined Tzu Chi's visit to a prison. It was sad to see people my age in jail for different reasons. I am grateful to Master Cheng Yen and Tzu Chi. Because I do charity work, I don’t have time to go astray. I felt the love from Master Cheng Yen and Tzu Chi, and learned the importance of being content."

In some places in Zimbabwe, there is not enough water, and drilling wells is expensive, Isaac became one of the leaders of a Tzu Chi well-drilling team which helps to fix this problem. Gratefully he said:

“I'm grateful to Tzu Chi for letting me help drill and fix wells in Zimbabwe. It makes me really happy to see villagers with simple smiles and joy when they get access to water."

In his closing remarks, Isaac conveyed his unwavering gratitude to Master Cheng Yen and made a vow: "Master, it has been fifteen years, and my heart remains unchanged because it carries your teachings. My favorite Jing Si Aphorism is, 'With love, we can change the world.' Today, I kept my promise."

“Master, I am here to be your certified volunteer. I vow to practice Dharma in my daily life and follow Master’s footsteps to spread Great Love, and I aspire to be a Dharma boat to deliver people from suffering to the shore of happiness. Thank you, Master, for your teachings."

This young Zimbabwean has been enlightened by the light of Tzu Chi. He continues to brighten every corner of his surroundings with acts of kindness and gratitude.

Story compiled by Meichen Liao