In the aftermath of a flood in Northern Thailand last year, Tzu Chi volunteers from Bangkok travelled to the flood-stricken Nan Province to provide aid to those affected. During the relief mission, the volunteers noticed the poor living conditions of many villagers.
As Northern Thailand entered the winter season this year, temperatures continued to fall. A team of Tzu Chi volunteers travelled from Bangkok to Nan again to bring love and warmth to low income households in a city there. They carried out three aid distributions from 30th November to 1st December, handing out aid supplies to more aid recipients in more locations compared to last year.
Learning to give with love through volunteering
The aid distribution activity started after Tzu Chi volunteers led everyone to sing the song "Prayer". As there were thorough preparations beforehand, the event went peacefully and smoothly. Thanks to the help of many local volunteers, there was also sufficient manpower to move and transport the large amount of aid materials. Volunteers also offered assistance as the villagers came to collect the aid materials, such as white rice and soy sauce, and exited the site.
After receiving an invitation from Tzu Chi to help out at the aid distribution event, local resident Mdm Chaloenta set aside her work to volunteer there. As she loved helping others, Chaloenta thanked Tzu Chi for giving her an opportunity to contribute and to learn more about the Dharma. She had also learned the direction and ways of carrying out charity work.
Her dedication was apparent during the three aid distributions, and she always wore a cheerful smile on her face. She said, "I am not tired at all, because I am willing and happy to give. I feel happy in the process of contributing. I am very happy as I work, so I don't feel tired!"
Another local volunteer, Mdm Promom, shared that she very much looked forward to Tzu Chi's visit because she felt much care and love from Tzu Chi volunteers. She added that although she loved the villagers, she used to feel shy to initiate help when she saw someone in need on the streets. Now, she knew what to do to help others.
Besides distributing aid supplies, Tzu Chi volunteers also visited the homes of needy villagers to care for their wellbeing. Roenthong, a villager, collects recyclables for a living. She came to know about Tzu Chi during the flood relief, and Tzu Chi’s winter aid distributions in two consecutive years had greatly relieved her financial burden. She also felt that Tzu Chi had enriched her soul and found its teachings very useful.
“Tzu Chi advocates the values of sincerity, integrity, faith, and honesty, as well as saving up in a Bamboo Coin Bank (to help others in need) to sow blessings for ourselves. Everyone can do that," said Roenthong.
Mdm Nid-Anong, another villager, was born with disabilities in both hands and currently survives on government subsidy for the disabled. Unable to use her hands to do work, she has learned to use her feet instead. Now, she can put on make-up, do housework, and even write with her feet. Her resilience, courage and perseverance deeply touched the volunteers, who hoped that their loving care had warmed her heart and that the aid materials could allow her to live through winter without worries.