See the 10 biggest missions Tzu Chi USA undertook in 2019 through our exclusive lens.
Written by Dilber Shatursun
Edited by Anik Ghose
#10 - Sunrise in Jojutla, Mexico
On a dewy April morning, volunteers from the Tzu Chi International Medical Association, Tzu Chi USA, and Tzu Chi Mexico, setup a venue in Jojutla, Mexico, to host a medical outreach. It’s a continuation of a medical mission began after the 2017 Puebla Earthquake. Of the effort, longtime Tzu Chi volunteer Martin Kuo says “this is my 24th service, so since day one, we commit, we will be coming back. Here we are again.” See it in this clip.
#9 - Blessings for a New Journey at the 2019 TIMA Global Forum
For the first time, the United States served as the host country for the Tzu Chi International Medical Association’s (TIMA) Global Forum. Roughly 600 medical and health professionals from 16 countries attended its program of workshops and trainings on contemporary healthcare topics and medical humanitarianism. Here, participants wave farewell to a team undertaking a big medical mission: to expand Tzu Chi Medical’s vision care services to the East Coast.
#8 - Anguish After Dayton Tornadoes
After an EF3 tornado tore through Dayton, Ohio- with winds measuring up to 140 mph- approximately 65,000 homes were left without power and more than 130 people were injured. Many homes sustained significant damage and were left uninhabitable. Tzu Chi volunteers arrived to help with debris cleanup, raised money through a Facebook fundraiser, and later hosted a distribution, seeing care recipients, like the one pictured above, trying hard to bear their trauma.
#7 - Dharma Masters from Taiwan Take a Tour of the US
To give their blessings for Tzu Chi USA’s 30th anniversary, four Dharma Masters from Taiwan visited Tzu Chi USA’s regional offices in states like California, Texas, Illinois, New York, and more. Here, they are pictured at the annual spiritual retreat held at Tzu Chi USA’s headquarters in San Dimas, California, leading a walking meditation and accompanied by Tzu Chi volunteers. Their trip will culminate in a special event to take place in New York.
#6 - Remembering the Camp Fire, One Year On
On November 8, 2018, the Camp Fire would go on to become the deadliest in California’s modern history, killing 85 people and destroying 18,800 structures. Tzu Chi USA has provided robust relief to affected Butte County residents since, and at a memorial event commemorating the Camp Fire’s anniversary, Jessie Mercer, a Chico-based artist, unveiled a new work: a phoenix, known through lore to rise from the ashes, consisting of keys from burnt down houses and buildings in Paradise.
#5 - Graduation Day in Tijuana
Tijuana, Mexico has been ranked as the most deadly city in the world. Founded as a beacon of hope and as a remedy to combat the sociopolitical factors that contribute to the city’s notorious gang and drug-fueled violence, the Tijuana Tzu Chi Elementary School has provided quality primary education for the last 20 years. The curriculum incorporates character education, teaching children about mutual respect and respect for nature. This spring, the 6th grade celebrated its graduation day. See the festivities here.
#4 - Tzu Chi Goes Cross-Country
During the 2019 TIMA Global Forum, Tzu Chi Medical revealed two new vision mobile units, both equipped with brand new equipment to conduct vision screenings, eye exams, lens cutting, and frame outfitting. A team of four volunteers flew in from NY to drive the two trucks from San Dimas, California to New York, passing America’s vast landscapes along the way. Catch up on their journey here.
#3 - A Step in the Right Direction
2019 was a year of many firsts for Tzu Chi USA; it included our first ever charity walk, Steps for the Earth. Taking place in Los Angeles and New York, it gathered together individuals and families in solidarity of environmental protection and a disaster-resilient future. The events also featured performances, vegetarian food vendors, and sustainable goods – with smiles all around. Read all the highlights here.
#2 - The Unveiling of the Tzu Chi Center
In honor of the progress Tzu Chi has made on the global stage, and auspiciously timed with Tzu Chi USA’s 30th anniversary, the Tzu Chi Center has opened its doors in New York City’s Upper East Side. Located just streets away from United Nations Headquarters in New York, it will function partly as an exhibition and event space. Its first floor features retail items from Tzu Chi’s signature Jing Si Shop and DA.AI Technology, while it’s second and third floor showcase Tzu Chi’s origins, footprints around the world, a prayer space, and special exhibits. Schedule a visit here.
#1 - The Spectacular Grand Opening of the Church of Canoa
After years of reconstruction after being crumbled by the 2016 Ecuador earthquake, the Church of Canoa has finally reopened. In a ceremony that gathered the Canoa community, the Parish of San Andrés, those involved in its earthquake-resistant rebuilding efforts, and Tzu Chi volunteers, festivity, unity, and love filled the air, particularly the night before its grand opening, as fireworks were set off to celebrate the symbol of this new structure of hope. Watch the story of the Church of Canoa here