|About Tzu Chi
Q1: What kind of organisation is Tzu Chi?
Tzu Chi was established on 14th May 1966 , in Hualien, Taiwan, by Dharma Master Cheng Yen. The Foundation’s “Four Missions” are Charity, Medicine, Education, and Humanistic Culture, which, over the years, have unfolded to include Bone Marrow Donation, Environmental Protection, Community Volunteerism, and International Relief. These eight concurrent campaigns are collectively known as “Eight Dharma Footprints”. There are currently over 600 Tzu Chi offices in 67 countries and regions, with a total of more than ten million donating members and close to two million volunteers worldwide. Tzu Chi has provided aid to 133 countries and regions, working directly with people in need, regardless of race, nationality or religion, to alleviate their suffering.
Q2: As a Buddhist organisation, does Tzu Chi require its volunteers and beneficiaries to convert to Buddhism?
Dharma Master Cheng Yen, the founder of Tzu Chi, believes that all religions help people to understand life's purpose and principles, and that every righteous religion guides people to live a moral and meaningful life. Despite their apparent differences, all religions stress on human development and advocate a life of service. Sharing a common spirit of Great Love, our volunteers do not differentiate one another based on race or religion, and Tzu Chi does not require the volunteers and beneficiaries to change their religion.
Q3: How does Tzu Chi live out the spirit of Buddhism?
The goal of Tzu Chi is to live out the Buddhist values of loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity while working to relieve the suffering of people. Through their participation in Tzu Chi’s activities, our volunteers are able to gain an understanding of the Dharma and purify their own hearts and minds. They cultivate their character and refine their thoughts, speech and actions by applying the Buddha’s teachings they have learned in their daily lives, which benefit themselves as well as others.
|Become a Volunteer
Q1: How do I become a Tzu Chi volunteer?
Q2: What is Tzu Chi’s volunteer training process?
Master Cheng Yen says that the beauty of a group lies in the refinement of its individuals. When asked about the management style of Tzu Chi, she would always reply, “In Tzu Chi, everyone educates and disciplines themselves.” Through the three-stage volunteer training process of “attachment”, “trainee” and “certification”, volunteers develop a common knowledge and understanding of Tzu Chi’s Missions, protocols, and philosophy, which helps them to work collaboratively and unitedly. Attachment and trainee volunteers learn about the Tzu Chi spirit and serve in the Four Missions. Those who affirm the Tzu Chi spirit, observe the protocols, help to recruit donating members, regularly serve in the community and take on leadership responsibilities, are able to be certified as commissioners or faith corps members upon recommendation by volunteer leaders.
Q3: Why does a Tzu Chi volunteer need to undergo training?
The purpose of volunteer training is to help volunteers develop right views and strengthen their faith and commitment. Besides doing good to sow blessings by participating in Tzu Chi activities, our volunteers undergo periodic training, to learn about life’s principles and to develop their character. In the work of helping the needy, they witness suffering first-hand and come to realise the causes of life’s suffering as expounded in the Dharma. Through undergoing training, they can see how their volunteer experiences bear witness to the truths of the Dharma, and thus grow in wisdom. They will then apply the wisdom they have gained as they continue to serve in the Tzu Chi Missions. Volunteer training is akin to the ongoing nurturing of a sapling. After planting a sapling, we need to nurture it by watering and fertilising it. Then the sapling will grow strong and healthy.
Q4: Why should I join Tzu Chi? What are the benefits of becoming a Tzu Chi volunteer?
Every day we are faced with a myriad of life choices and decisions. Small decisions can lead to everyday outcomes, while major decisions have the potential to change our lives. A wrong decision will lead us off course, thus, we need to exercise wisdom when we make choices in our daily life. The Tzu Chi Path entails practising spiritual cultivation as we serve among people. When we practise the act of giving, we are learning to break the habit of greed, and it is only through the act of helping others that we are grateful as people with potential for goodness. The greatest benefit of joining Tzu Chi lies herein — as we are busy engaging in meaningful activities, there will be an increased sense of clarity and purpose in our life. The reason being, when we finds joy in the work we do, we will experience less affliction, and growth in wisdom will be a natural outcome.
Q5: Why must Tzu Chi volunteers wear uniforms?
Tzu Chi is a globally-recognised NGO as well as an organisation for spiritual cultivation. In a Tzu Chi disaster relief effort, there are always scenes of volunteers clad in their distinctive blue and white uniforms (i.e. “blue sky white cloud”) serving those in need. The uniform has thus become a visible hallmark of Tzu Chi people around the globe, and it symbolises Great Love that traverses borders to comfort those in suffering. By wearing the same uniform, it also demonstrates the beauty of harmony within a team and reflects the willingness of individuals to minimise their ego, without seeking to stand out from others. Volunteers in uniform are reminded to humble themselves and to correct their negative habits and traits, as they expand their minds and serve with joy.
Q6: What do the different types of Tzu Chi uniforms embody?
After joining Tzu Chi, volunteers may go through a process of personal growth in spirit and in responsibility as they undergo a progressive, three-stage volunteer training programme: “attachment, trainee, and certification”. Each of these stages requires different coloured uniforms. For female certified volunteers, there are three sets of uniforms: a navy blue polo shirt with white pants, a navy blue dress, and a qipao. For male certified volunteers, they either wear the navy blue polo shirt with white pants or a suit. The different sets of uniforms are meant to be worn for different types of services and occasions, and are not meant to symbolise “class differences”.
Q7: If I am working full-time, can I still join as a volunteer?
Yes, most definitely. In fact, most of Tzu Chi’s volunteers are themselves holding full-time jobs, but they find time out of their busy schedules to take on the mantle of serving people. The greatest value of life lies in our ability to serve others in society; one with a loving heart leads the happiest life.
Q8: I am not a Buddhist. Can I still join Tzu Chi as a volunteer?
Although Tzu Chi is Buddhist in its origin, it bears the spirit of Great Love, and all of its Missions are carried out in ways that transcend the boundaries of race and religion. Tzu Chi’s primary focus is not on the chanting of sutras or conducting Dharma services; volunteers of different faiths and beliefs are warmly welcome to join us in sowing the seeds of love and blessings. For example, quite a number of members of the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) in various countries are Christians, Muslims or Hindus.
Q1: Is my donation to Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu-Chi Foundation (Singapore) tax deductible?
Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu-Chi Foundation (Singapore) is a registered charity with IPC (Institution of Public Character) status. Hence, donations made to the Foundation are eligible for IRAS tax deduction of 2.5 times the amount donated. To obtain a tax deduction, please provide us with your name, identification number (NRIC/FIN/UEN), and full address.
Q2: Do I need to apply for IRAS tax deduction for donations made to Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu-Chi Foundation (Singapore)?
You are not required to do so. We will submit your personal particulars together with your donation details to the IRAS, and the tax deduction will be automatically included in your income tax assessment.
Q3: How long do I need to wait before my GIRO donation is activated?
It will take about one month for the bank to process your application after receiving your completed GIRO application form. After the first successful deduction, you (and your Tzu Chi commissioner) will receive a confirmation text message via SMS or WhatsApp. If your application or the deduction is unsuccessful, you will receive a letter stating the reason and a new GIRO application form from Tzu Chi.
Q4: How can I cancel my monthly GIRO donations?
You may cancel your GIRO donations via Internet Banking or download the GIRO termination form from your bank’s website and submit the completed form to the bank for processing. Please also inform us of your cancellation via email to our Accounts Department at email@example.com, stating your name, identification number, and contact number.
Q5: What is a Tzu Chi “Honorary Board Member”? How does one become an "Honorary Board Member"?
Tzu Chi’s Honorary Board Membership was initiated on 16th August 1986, the day before the official opening of the Tzu Chi hospital in Hualien, Taiwan. To show her gratitude and appreciation to donors who donated at least NT$1 million to sponsor the construction of the hospital, Master Cheng Yen awarded each of them an Honorary Board Membership certificate. Today, donations from the Honorary Board Members are generally used to promote the Four Missions of Tzu Chi. These generous donors come from all walks of life; some of them are entrepreneurs while some are common, ordinary folks. They are concerned about the wellbeing and development of Tzu Chi, but are not involved in its administrative affairs. For more information, please feel free to contact us.
Q6: Can I give new or second-hand furniture or electrical appliances to Tzu Chi, to donate to its aid beneficiaries who need them?
We appreciate your kindness and generosity. Currently, Tzu Chi does not provide transport and storage services for such donated items. We can only assist in donating the items after confirming that there are aid/care beneficiaries who really need them. As Master Cheng Yen often reminds us to provide only the best and most suitable aid items for our beneficiaries, we hope you will ensure that the items are in good working condition. Please fill in this form online if you wish to donate electrical appliances or furniture. After receiving your completed form, Tzu Chi will screen the aid/care beneficiaries for their needs and then donate your gifts of love to those who need them.
Q7: Does Tzu Chi accept donations-in-kind from corporations?
Corporate donations of items, such as electronic products will be evaluated for their use and suitable items will generally be used in the Jing Si Hall or other Tzu Chi establishments. You are welcome to fill out this form to contact us, and we will get back to you.
Q1: What is meant by “Households of Gratitude”?
Tzu Chi addresses their aid/care recipients as "Households of Gratitude”. This is not about wanting the aid/care recipients to thank Tzu Chi for its help, but rather the volunteers are grateful to the needy for allowing them to witness poverty and illness, which reminds them to be vigilant of the impermanence in life and to be content and cherish what they have. As we give of ourselves, we must at the same time be grateful to the aid/care recipients; only then can we truly care for those who are suffering.
Q2: Will Tzu Chi give the donations it receives to a third-party to implement charity activities?
Tzu Chi's Mission of Charity aims to help those in need settle down and make ends meet, as well as give them a peace of mind. Besides providing material aid, our volunteers also give emotional support to our aid/care recipients and help them eventually become self-reliant. All the home visits are carried out by trained Tzu Chi home visit volunteers, so as to ensure the direct provision of care and assistance to needy individuals or families.
|Eco Awareness Activities
Q1: I am not a Tzu Chi volunteer; can I still take part in eco activities?
Yes, we warmly welcome your participation. The third Sunday of each month is designated as Tzu Chi’s island-wide Environmental Sustainability Day. You can go to the community eco point nearest to your home and join our volunteers in sorting recyclables. Let us join forces to serve as guardians of Mother Earth!
Q2: Does Tzu Chi provide collection of recyclables from households?
Sorry, we do not provide collection of recyclables from homes. If you wish to keep your recyclables for Tzu Chi, kindly sort and clean the items before bringing them to an eco point on our Tzu Chi Environmental Sustainability Day. If the items are heavy or bulky, you can borrow a small trolley/pushcart from the eco point to carry them. We appreciate your effort in protecting the environment, to leave a clean and beautiful planet for our younger generations.
Q3: How does Tzu Chi deal with donated second-hand clothing?
All the recyclables and used items collected at our island-wide eco points, including second-hand clothing, are sold to recycling merchants. The recycling merchants will then ship the usable items to countries where there is a demand for such items, or send them to factories to be recycled/made into other products.
Q4: How do I set up a new eco point in my neighbourhood?
We greatly appreciate your keen interest in helping to drive the recycling effort. Our eco point operates regularly on the third Sunday of each month. If your area is able to provide a venue for long term collection program, please drop us your contact details via our enquiry form.
Q5: How do I invite a Tzu Chi team to promote environmental awareness in my company/enterprise?
We are unable to provide environmental awareness programme on site. However, we do have a Gallery in Yishun which is open for booking to host your employees for a Sustainability Learning Journey on a weekend. At our gallery, we will be covering the 3 pillars of sustainability - Environment, Social and Economic.
Q6: I am a student volunteering with Tzu Chi presently. Can my volunteer time be counted as part of my “Community Involvement Programme/Community Service Programme” (CIP/CSP) hours?
We are unable to endorse the CIP/CSP programmes.