For First Ebola Assistance Effort, Tzu Chi Signs Cooperation Memorandum With Healey Foundation
On March 3, 2015, Tzu Chi signed a Cooperation Memorandum with the Healey International Relief Foundation at the Tzu Chi Campus in Hualien, Executive Director of Global Volunteer Affairs, Stephen Huang, represented Tzu Chi to officially sign the Cooperation Memorandum with Healey Foundation’s President and Caritas Foundation representative Robert “Bob” Healey, Jr.
Tzu Chi Foundation provided 1,512 folding beds, 15 tons of Jing Si Rice, and 3000 disaster relief blankets made of recycled materials. These supplies will arrive in Sierra Leone in early March. The German Red Dot Design Award-winning folding beds, can be used as mobile beds at local clinics and quarantine centers, providing patients a much-needed place to receive treatment and to rest and recover. Jing Si Rice provides fast nutrition for patients in a convenient manner, and the disaster relief blankets made of recycled materials will keep patients warm and comfortable.
Stephen Fomba, a native of Sierra Leone, will represent Tzu Chi locally to provide the supplies to Healey Foundation and Caritas Foundation, who will, in turn, distribute the supplies. Fomba saw his homeland being devastated by the Ebola epidemic, and decided to resign his previous position and leave his family in order to return the country and help in any way he could. Tzu Chi USA invited Fomba to become project manager and develop a plan for initiating the relief project, with the help of Dr. Kandeh Yumkella of United Nations, another Sierra Leone native. Fomba initiated a cooperative effort with the world-renowned NGOs Caritas Foundation and Healey Foundation, who were already working on stemming the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.
Tzu Chi is currently the first NGO from Taiwan that is aiding the Republic of Sierra Leone, and will cooperate with several groups and international organizations to prevent and lower the number of cases of infections.