Tzu Chi volunteers undergo intense training from head office.

Public welcomed to join future study classes

PHILIPSBURG:—St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers are now better equipped to carry out their roles in assisting persons in community according to the foundation’s principles, thanks to a two-month basic education training program that they successfully completed recently.

Tzu Chi Founder Master Cheng Yen sent a special team of three Commissioners to St. Maarten in May to assist local volunteers with their post-Irma relief efforts as well as to conduct the training. The facilitators were David Hsu, Mei-Hsiang Chuang and Chun-Niang Yu.

The 18 volunteers, who completed the Tzu Chi basic training program, graduated during a celebration held at Pink Pearl Restaurant recently. During the graduation Hsu presented each volunteer with their certification and a token of appreciation. Receiving certificates were Saskia Amatdawoed, Egidio Lusia, Rosealie Aldueza Realon, Mary Jane Sanchez, Ingemar Arndell, Ingrid Arndell, Antonette Clarke, Eveline Paul Garard, Eldica Richardson, Angela Heyliger, Fuhong Yu, Marie Simon, Mo Sing Chu, Xiao Qiong Liang, Roger Yee Fong, Guifen Lu, Xiaya Mo and Regina Janga.

During the ceremony, volunteers delivered sign language performances. One of the performances entitled “Three Nos” teaches that there is no one in the world whom cannot be loved, trusted and forgiven. Another sign language performance entitled “One Family,” teaches that the world is one big family and that those who are blessed should reach out to the less fortunate and assist them.

The training program was held once weekly from June 10 to July 29. The program, which is designed for global Tzu Chi volunteers, normally runs for a year. However, due to limited time the three mentors, who travelled to St. Maarten to facilitate the course, managed to complete the program in two months with the group of motivated and dedicated St. Maarten volunteers.

Local volunteers learnt of the hard work and challenges the foundation faced in its initial years and the strength and determination of the founder, who persevered to grow and develop one of the largest benevolent organizations in the world today.

The very intensive, educational and spiritual training, focused on the history of Tzu Chi. Master Cheng Yen began her journey with 30 housewives in her native Taiwan, who each put aside US $0.02 cents from their daily grocery money to help others. This is how the Buddhist Compassion and relief foundation was formed. The foundation’s first mission was charity and engaging in charitable acts. After Master Cheng Yen observed persons suffering from illnesses stemming from poverty, a second mission was added to the cause: medicine.

Master Cheng Yen faced 12 years of challenges before she was able to establish the foundation’s first hospital in 1984. At the time doctors and nurses were not willing to work at the facility, which was located in the poor countryside of Hualien, Taiwan. This led to the formation of the foundation’s third mission, education; followed the fourth mission, humanity; the fifth, environmental protection; sixth, bone marrow transplant; seventh, international relief and eight, community volunteers.

Despite graduating, volunteers continued study classes on their own, with the first post-graduation one being held on August 19, on the topic: serving as benefactors in each other’s lives. The classes focused on how benefactors can turn the lives of others around. “We must become each other’s benefactors. When we help others, we become their benefactors. When they assist us, they become our benefactors; we must work together harmoniously as a team becoming each other’s benefactors. People like this are the most fortunate people in life,” Tzu Chi Foundation said in a press release.

Tzu Chi said in its press release that volunteers follow Master Cheng Yen’s teachings with love, compassion, joy and unselfish giving. “They strive for the realization of a pure, undefiled land of Tzu Chi through charity for the needy, giving of joy and elimination of suffering. We rely on wisdom of reason and feasibility of execution. Above all, we invite all people with goodwill to cultivate a field of blessings and bring about a society of love.”

Persons interested in joining the foundation as volunteers are welcomed to attend the study classes, which are held every other Sunday from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. The next study class will be held on Sunday, September 2, at Tzu Chi Foundation, located on L.B. Scott Road next to the ballfield. For more information call tel. 586-3019.

Source: St. Martin News Network