Collaboration and Unity at the 2019 National VOAD Conference

Central  |  May 16, 2019
2019 VOAD Conference
Photo Credit: Jonathan Van Lamsweerde

A New Partnership with the Red Cross and Global Humanitarian Efforts

The 27th annual National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee was a triumphant success, with a record turnout of 703 participating disaster organizations — 236 of which were first-timers including the Tzu Chi team.

The NVOAD coalition includes more than 100 Member organizations from ranging from the national to the regional level from throughout the country. The NVOAD conference is an annual three-day event that facilitates the exchange of ideas among disaster relief organizations. This year’s theme at the NVOAD Conference, ‘Together We Amplify’, highlighted the vital need for unified action in the face of disaster and global recovery.

It takes all of us to bring about whole community recovery.

Voad Conference 2019
Tzu Chi booth at the National VOAD conference. Photo Credit: Jonathan Van Lamsweerde

Tzu Chi USA’s presence at the conference helped to enhance global sustainable recovery with innovative technology. Through an exchange of our eco-friendly and sustainable innovations, the facilitation of a Buddha Bathing Ceremony, and the cultivation of lasting partnerships with the 100 participating organizations, Tzu Chi USA reach of aid provision was expanded and magnified.

Fostering New Connections

Despite being first year conference attendees, Tzu Chi USA’s innovative recycled products caught much attention. A beautiful new partnership blossomed with The American Red Cross thanks to our cutting-edge eco-friendly innovations. The American Red Cross ordered a total of 10,000 Tzu Chi eco-friendly blankets made out of recycled water bottles to integrate into their own recovery tactics.

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I can’t think of a better way for Redcross to have better products, than having recycled products.

In support of this year’s theme, the Tzu Chi USA team continued to make new connections and partnerships throughout the conference in order to improve sustainable recovery initiatives as a unified global impact.

We’re hoping that the audience can take away successful models in which organizations such as Tzu Chi uses to serve and help people of different backgrounds

VOAD Conference 2019
Tzu Chi USA collaborates with conference attendees and participants. Photo Credit: Jonathan Van Lamsweerde
Adam Mosley (right) of Uzima Water Filters, a humanitarian organization that offers portable water filtration solutions, pictured with Minjhing Hsieh (left), Executive Director of Northwestern Region. Photo Credit: Jonathan Van Lamsweerde

Sharing Knowledge

Johan from Hawaii chapter leads the Buddha Bathing Ceremony.
Charms given to ceremony participants. Photo Credits: Jonathan Van Lamsweerde

This concept of bringing gratitude, respect and love, brings together much of this disaster relief community that sincere care for the survivors. This ceremony acts as a symbol for that mindset and that care.

On the final day of the conference, our team facilitated a conference-wide forum as panelists for a discussion on ‘Social and Economically Just Response, Adaptation, and Migration in the Wake of Disasters.’ The forum explored innovative disaster relief methodologies and multifaceted approaches to recovery in order to foster more effective delivery of services to communities impacted by disaster.

Voad Conference 2019
Panelists from the left: Hanford Lin (Special Project Lead, Tzu Chi USA, Aaron Broyles (Interagency Liaison, Grassroots Aid Partnership) Johan Alwall (Deputy Director, Tzu Chi USA Pacific Island Region), Minjhing Hsieh (Executive Director, Tzu Chi USA Northwestern Region), Evelyn Sao-Stevens, (American Samoa VOAD). Photo Credit: Jonathan Van Lamsweerde

For example people who live on land but without registered domicile, that traditional relief organizations like FEMA or Red Cross are not able to help under their rules. So, they need to come to organizations such as Tzu Chi USA that have more flexible rules so that we can help fill the gaps.

Voad Conference 2019
Forum panelists engage in progressive disaster relief discussion.
Voad Conference 2019
Photo Credits: Jonathan Van Lamsweerde

Celebrating Continued Recovery

Tzu Chi USA fostered new connections and continued to learn through the conference — the kind of collaboration and cooperation that NVOAD elicits and encourages. And, as always, the Tzu Chi team continues to dedicate their hearts and souls to building a better world.

While the conference has ended, our team continues to celebrate continued recovery for those affected by disaster.

Join hands to support our global mission to heal a hurting world, one life at a time.

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