Tzu Chi is providing assistance to Ukrainians seeking refuge in neighboring countries. You can help.

Unable to bear the suffering that has resulted from conflict in Ukraine, Tzu Chi founder Dharma Master Cheng Yen has called on the people of the world to harness their compassion and turn it into action. Tzu Chi volunteers are mobilizing humanitarian relief that includes critical supplies like medicine, food, eco-blankets, living essentials, and more.

HOW WE ARE HELPING

Since February 2022, millions of people have fled Ukraine to seek refuge in neighboring countries, including Poland, Moldova, and Romania. Most have minimal items and resources to make a new life for themselves and their loved ones.

To help them get through this difficult period, Tzu Chi is hosting distributions to provide emergency financial support and emergency items. As of May 23, 2022, there have been:

0
distributions held
0
shopping cards

(used at Biedronka supermarket)

$ 0
USD given in aid

 ($20,276,000 PLN, or Polish złoty)

0

people who have benefitted

$ 0
blankets
$ 0
eco-blankets
0
gift cards from Biedronka supermarket
0
packs of living essentials
0
sleeping bags

We are also providing spiritual comfort.

Tzu Chi volunteers are compassionate individuals who recognize that suffering comes in many forms. It includes the trauma of warfare, life-threatening danger, grief, separation from loved ones, and displacement from home. Teams of volunteers have been in touch with local relief organizations to offer spiritual support (regardless of faith) and are also traveling to Eastern Europe to offer this care in person.

Additionally, we are teaming up.

With the belief that we can accomplish more together, Tzu Chi is proactively partnering with local agencies that are already serving those who’ve been displaced. This way, we can bolster important efforts that are already in place. In fact, we have signed several Memoranda of Understanding, or MOUs, with the following non-governmental organizations, or NGOs:

UNICEF, promising $10 million in emergency aid for children and families that have fled into neighboring countries of Ukraine.

Polish Women Can Foundation, committing to medical and spiritual care for women and children, as well as emergency necessities and cash cards

The Camillian Mission of Social Welfare, providing basic necessities, including food and medical services, temporary accommodation, and psychological counseling for more than 40,000 people over the next 5 months

IsraAID, pledging two years of long-term support that will benefit displaced families, particularly women and children, seeking refuge in Romania and Moldova

HOW YOU CAN HELP

We are bringing supplies and emergency financial aid to Ukrainian refugees in neighboring countries to Ukraine and the United States. You can join us.

SEE OUR LATEST RELIEF EFFORTS

May 20-23

As of May 22, nearly 6,553,000 people have fled from Ukraine since February 24, 2022 (according to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency), with as many as roughly 3.5 million seeking refuge in Poland alone. Given these massive numbers, Tzu Chi USA Chief Executive Officer Debra Boudreaux recognizes that, at a macro level, buffering the impact of this rapid migration is going to take a lot teamwork:
“The whole situation is so challenging. Not just one agency can do it. It has to be a collaboration and partnership together,” she emphasizes. 

This time, Debra and a few members from Tzu Chi USA’s Relief Team are back in Poland for a second time this spring to lay the plans for these collaborations, teaming up with organizations like UNICEF, the Polish Red Cross, and IsraAID.

Of the importance of this support, Debra explains that many of these NGOs need a hand with resources that are beginning to fade: “time flies by,” she highlights; “food is getting lesser and lesser, the support is getting limited.”

However, Debra is confident Tzu Chi can bolster their efforts in thoughtful and meaningful ways: “it’s a very challenging situation, so we are very grateful to understand what their major needs are, and what Tzu Chi can do, and what kind of challenges they currently face.”

May 21

Tzu Chi USA CEO Debra Boudreaux returns to Poland. Alongside her fellow volunteers, they connect with local partners across Poland, including in Warsaw, Olsztyn, Krakow, to develop plans to host further distributions for families who’ve been displaced from their native Ukraine as well as for long-term recovery.

To begin, the team visited a supermarket called MAKRO Polska in Kraków, where they bought samples of items for grocery bundles that will periodically be delivered to the Polish Red Cross. They also visited tented areas to observe the living conditions of those displaced from Ukraine. They also met with local officials in Olsztyn and toured other shelter sites, too. Families with young children were abundant.

Returning to Warsaw, another distribution went underway, with families gathered at the Salesian Church’s Oratorium. Care recipients receive DA.AI Technology eco-blankets but also shopping cards to use at local Biedronka supermarkets.

May 19

Tzu Chi USA CEO Debra Boudreaux returns to Poland. Alongside her fellow volunteers, they connect with local partners across Poland, including in Warsaw, Olsztyn, Krakow, to develop plans to host further distributions for families who’ve been displaced from their native Ukraine as well as for long-term recovery.

To begin, the team visited a supermarket called MAKRO Polska in Kraków, where they bought samples of items for grocery bundles that will periodically be delivered to the Polish Red Cross. They also visited tented areas to observe the living conditions of those displaced from Ukraine. They also met with local officials in Olsztyn and toured other shelter sites, too. Families with young children were abundant.

Returning to Warsaw, another distribution went underway, with families gathered at the Salesian Church’s Oratorium. Care recipients receive DA.AI Technology eco-blankets but also shopping cards to use at local Biedronka supermarkets.

May 16-18

Tzu Chi’s humanitarian aid for those who escaped Ukraine and are now in Poland  is in high gear.

As of May 18, Tzu Chi Relief teams hosted 69 distributions of gift shopping cards to Biedronka, a major chain of supermarkets in Poland. This assistance to buy food and other essentials has benefited 19,648 families so far, providing the equivalent of $2,264,560 USD in aid. The families are also receiving DA.AI Technology eco-blankets, with 5,751 given out by May 18.

May 17

The Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation (BTCCF) and Israel-based humanitarian relief organization, IsraAID sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Terms outline support to IsraAID to provide two years of long-term recovery services to individuals displaced from Ukraine and seeking refuge in Moldova and Romania.

These include the provision of basic necessities, medical supplies, as well as psychosocial support. Special attention, however, will be paid to women and children, including the creation of safe spaces for children, educational services, the establishment of remote learning centers, and assistance in integrating into their new communities.

Of the commitment, Po Wen Yen, the Chief Executive Officer of the BTCCF, said “we came to understand that this crisis will have long-lasting impacts on the well-being of children, and with our shared commitment… IsraAID and Tzu Chi will support those affected by the crisis through a holistic and integrative approach.”

May 14

A school gymnasium turns into a Tzu Chi distribution site in the town of Lesznowola, Poland. Present at the distribution are volunteers from Tzu Chi Deutschland (Germany), as well as many locals seeking to give back.

Among those who received Biedronka shopping cards, as well as DA.AI Technology blankets, include 17-year-old Maxim. He arrived in Poland all alone, with his mother having sent him away from their hometown at the commencement of bombing. 

“My mother has a grandfather and a grandmother, and she needs to support them, so she needs to stay there,” he explained. Still, he is eagerly awaiting the moment they may reunite: “I want [her to come] to me, of course, I want to take her from Dnipro, I want [her] to be with me.”

May 8

As Tzu Chi volunteers resume  humanitarian relief distributions in Lublin, Poland, they celebrate a special occasion with local volunteers, local residents, and care recipients from Ukraine. In honor of Global Tzu Chi Day and Buddha Day, Tzu Chi hosts a Buddha Bathing Ceremony for the first time on the streets of Lublin.

As an auspicious occasion for Tzu Chi, its purpose is to share positivity, connection, and blessings with a community composed of many different faiths. While Tzu Chi’s practice is rooted in Buddhism, it shares so many values with those who are seeking compassion, and with those who are in need of relief.

May 3 - 7

To ensure that needs are met with love, respect, and compassion, Tzu Chi relief distributions in Poland were held hand-in-hand with communities from May 3rd to 7th in Warsaw, Poznań, and Lublin, to deliver cash cards for 1,077 people who recently fled from Ukraine. 

At the distribution in Rokietnica, five government office employees and Bartosz Derech, the principal of Rokietnica Commune, even came to assist with the event — additionally offering transportation for older adults, mothers with children, and those who are pregnant, to receive cash cards.

When volunteers read a letter from Dharma Master Cheng Yen in Ukrainian, tears were shed, and hugs were shared. Thanks to everyone’s loving support and the dedication of volunteers, the distributions were completed smoothly. Friendships were formed, and many promised to see each other at the next Tzu Chi distribution.

May 6

The Songs of Solidarity for Ukraine: Tzu Chi Concert for Love & Relief in Warsaw was held in Poland, as part of our humanitarian relief efforts aiding Ukrainian children and families who have been displaced by the recent conflict. Heartfelt moments permeated throughout the concert and the three distributions that followed.

One woman in the audience tearfully shared, “when I heard these songs on stage, I felt the pain of the children who suffered and died because of the war in our beautiful Ukraine.”

Remarking on their performance, singer Anastasia Malasehnko expressed her surprise with the concert’s outcome: “surely we expected emotions and that everybody will be happy to hear our songs, but what we saw – the tears and emotions on people’s faces – just exceeded all expectations.”

May 4 - 5

New local volunteers decide on performing in concert as a thank you to Tzu Chi for their help, and to share their experience with fellow families displaced from Ukraine.

Performers rehearsed for two days before the event, and included the Oratorium Children’s Choir, singer Anastasia Malashenko, and violinist Tatiana “the Anima” Voytovich.

May 1

Tzu Chi hosts a volunteer training session in Warsaw, Poland. Participants included 16 people, all who have recently fled from Ukraine.

During the training, the whole group even performed a rendition of the Tzu Chi song, “One Family.” “I was actually very moved this morning and even cried when I heard them sing ‘One Family’ in Ukrainian… I was very, very emotional, and they sang beautifully with the feeling of love,” Tzu Chi Turkey’s Faisal Hu explained.

For Anastasia Malashenko, one of the trainees, she said that “I was a volunteer in Ukraine and for me being here is such a joy and great opportunity. I feel great being here.”

Another trainee, Irena Romaniv, too, also expressed, “I was astonished by the kindness of these people, I was touched by it. They do an extremely important thing; they teach how to love, they share with joy and sincerity; they help others.”

On-site, to help ease language barriers, were translators like Karima, who helped translate Chinese into Ukrainian. Having been close to the conversations surrounding Tzu Chi’s humanitarian relief, she shared that “today is the third day since I got to know Tzu Chi… We open our hearts and are grateful that you’re here with us and we can work together to accomplish this goal.”

April 25

The Tzu Chi assessment team meets Adriana Porowska, President of the Camillian Mission of Social Welfare in Poland. She explains that local NGOs are reaching the limits of their bandwidth: “during the first days of the war, a lot of Poles were helping, and now we’re seeing that supplies diminished and capacities weakened.” Still, they have been preparing 10,000 hot meals everyday, including other welfare services.

Tzu Chi agrees to help. As a new partner to both the Camillian Mission and the Polish Women Can Foundation, Johan Alwall of Tzu Chi says, “these two organizations… after we see the work that they’ve done with our own eyes, we know that this is a very good place to put Tzu Chi’s resources.”

April 24

To better learn what awaits people as they cross Ukraine’s borders, the Tzu Chi assessment team heads to Medyka, Poland. There, Tzu Chi USA’s Chief Executive Officer Debra Boudreaux observes the many NGOs welcoming people arriving on foot and by car. “You can see a lot of international NGOs; each NGO has their own tents indicating their services,” she observes.

For many, it’s a very long walk. For those in cars, however, it’s a painfully slow shuffle across customs. One young woman says, “we’re waiting here [in our car] for three nights, and now it is the fourth day.” She highlights the restlessness of it: “you can’t sleep there because every 40 minutes we are ‘go, go,’” because the cars must steadily pull up. To give some families comfort, Debra and her fellow volunteers went car to car distributing foods – and smiles.

April 22

Tzu Chi signs a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, with UNICEF, the United Nations’ Children’s Fund. In it, Tzu Chi agrees to contribute $10 million to UNICEF’s emergency response to benefit children and families from Ukraine and now seeking refuge in neighboring countries. It comes after nearly 4.7 million refugees reportedly fled the country since conflict began in February.

On the same day, the Tzu Chi assessment team meets local NGOs including the Polish Red Cross. They survey large-scale exhibition venues that may be suitable for distribution, as well as visiting Warsaw Central Station, a Ukrainian Service Center, and other locations that are currently offering services to those from Ukraine.

April 19 - 21

Volunteers from Tzu Chi departed from the United States, Turkey, and Taiwan, and arrived in Warsaw, Poland to form an assessment team. They visit and consult with local partners for upcoming large-scale distributions, as well as site investigation and pre-distribution logistics.

April 2 - 3

Bringing together Tzu Chi volunteers from Germany, the Netherlands and Poland, Tzu Chi distributed emergency cash cards and blankets throughout four distributions in Lublin, Poland, benefiting a total of 451 people.

Volunteers then visited temporary shelters set up by the Medical University of Lublin, the University dormitory, the Red Cross, and Catholic Caritas Internationalis. At each location, they brought relief materials with them and talked to people to provide spiritual comfort.

April 1

Tzu Chi volunteers visit the border city of Lublin, Poland to donate 1,500 sleeping bags to the Red Cross in Lublin, Poland, where many Ukrainians are temporarily sheltered. They also discussed the issuance of cash cards for families to spend on their most pressing needs.

March 29

1,260 sleeping bags, donated by Tzu Chi, arrive in Szczecin, northwestern Poland. They are brought to a collection station setup by the municipal government. Tzu Chi local volunteer Margret purchases other items to add that provide warmth, as well as personal care products. From here, these supplies are being redistributed to those from Ukraine staying temporarily in the stadiums of the University of Szczecin. 

March 24– April 28

Tzu Chi volunteers in Poznań in western Poland, gathered the support of the local Asian community to buy and prepare apples, onions, potatoes, barley, wheat flour, noodles, milk, sauces, as well as toilet paper. The supplies were packaged into 300 living kits, and materials were distributed to the northern village of Skórzewo from March 26 to 28.

March 23

Disaster relief materials prepared by Tzu Chi volunteers across Europe – including the UK, France, and Germany – were gathered in Hamburg, Germany to be sent to Lublin, Poland, a city on the border between Poland and Ukraine.

March 21

Across all of Europe, Tzu Chi volunteers have been moved to help. In Istanbul, Turkey, Syrians who had received Tzu Chi’s assistance during the refugee crisis just a few years ago have been thriving. Inspired by the help they received on their own journeys, they have been eager to pay it forward – and that day has arrived. 

After driving through Moldova, Romania, and Bulgaria, a group of Ukrainian families arrive in Turkey, but with few resources and belongings. Upon their arrival, Tzu Chi Turkey volunteers eagerly present them with gift cards that may be used at the local supermarket, furniture, and emergency supplies. They also offer them emotional comfort as they recount their long journey to their new, but foreign home.

March 19

Tzu Chi volunteer Johnathan Chuang helps longtime friend Oksana Kononets arrive in the United States after leaving Ukraine. Oksana is a fashion model and entrepreneur who uses a wheelchair. Together with her mother, she left Ukraine with Jonathan’s help, making it to safety in California. Accompanied by Jonathan’s family, they all visited Tzu Chi USA Headquarters in San Dimas, CA. There, they met Chief Executive Officer Debra Boudreaux, who was concerned for Oksana’s welfare as she suffers from paralysis in the lower half of her body. Learning more about their situation, Debra provided them with an emergency cash card to help the mother and daughter with their most pressing needs. Appointments were also made through the Tzu Chi Health Center for Oksana to receive medical care in the meantime.

Tzu Chi volunteers visit the Hope House of St. Elizabeth Convent in Poznań, Poland, where 29 refugees from Ukraine are currently staying. There, the Sisters explained that due to limited funding, resources would be exhausted quickly, and assistance was urgently needed. Tzu Chi volunteers then purchased food and daily necessities, enough to support 40 individuals for two weeks.

March 5

Tzu Chi plans distributions across multiple cities in Poland, including the capital of Warsaw, the border city of Lublin, Poznań in the west, and Szczecin in the northwest.

In the meantime, Tzu Chi volunteer Shi’er Zhang, who lives in Poland with her husband, Lukasz Baranowski, begins to provide immediate relief. Together, they gathered rice, noodles, canned vegetables, canned corn, and corn flakes to donate. These items went to Skórzewo in northern Poland, where relief supplies are being distributed at the location provided by the local government.

March 4

Tzu Chi volunteers in Poland contact the Poland-Ukraine Foundation, confirming that hundreds of Ukrainians have arrived in Szczecin, northwest Poland. In the meantime, Tzu Chi volunteers in Poland begin liaising with communities, monasteries, Universities, and even private factories that are now sheltering those from Ukraine. Szczecin, located closer to the Polish-Ukrainian border, is an entry point for many seeking refuge as soon as they arrive in Poland.

Meanwhile, Tzu Chi volunteers in the UK prepare 900 eco-blankets, 1,200 eco-scarves, and other materials, to send as aid to Poland.

March 3

At the Tzu Chi Neihu Service Center in Taipei, Tzu Chi volunteers prepare Da Ai Technology eco-blankets for sending to Europe. Concurrently, Tzu Chi volunteers around the world fundraise to send more help.

March 2

Witnessing events as they unfolded from afar, Dharma Master Cheng Yen, the founder of Tzu Chi, makes a call to action: for people around the world to show their love and gather good thoughts to eliminate disasters. Tzu Chi USA launches a fundraiser, Love & Compassion for Ukraine, to procure and send relief supplies to those from Ukraine who are seeking refuge in neighboring Poland.

February 24

Russia commences armed conflict with Ukraine, simultaneously sparking the world’s worst refugee crisis since the Syrian Civil War.

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