In order to expand assistance to Ukrainian refugees, on April 30 the Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation and CADIS signed a commitment to operate jointly in Poland and Ukraine. The aid will include the provision of basic necessities, food, medical services, temporary housing, and psychological counseling with the goal of helping more than 40,000 people over a period of about five months.
During the signing ceremony, CADIS representatives and Master Jing Si Jingshe led the participants during the video conference from Taiwan, Poland and Rome to pray together for the war to stop and the world to be free from disasters.
The Tzu Chi Foundation and CADIS have already collaborated to assist countries severely affected by the new COVID-19 pandemic. This new collaboration will jointly invest refugee care in four areas of Warsaw, Poland's capital, including the largest train station in Warsaw West with service stations as well as resettlement shelters, issuing a card for economic aid. Food, clothing, hygiene products and medical kits will be distributed in Lviv and Kharkov, Ukraine.
According to statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as of April 29 there were more than 5.46 million refugees who fled Ukraine, including more than 3 million in neighboring Poland.
As a safe place, in addition to providing humanitarian aid services in three cities in Poland, Tzu Chi and CADIS are collaborating to assist Ukrainian refugees with interfaith love. During the signing ceremony on the evening of April 30, Fr. Aristelo Miranda, MI, CADIS Executive Director, and Po Wen Yen, CEO of Tzu Chi Charity Foundation signed the contract.
Br. Jose Ignacio Santaolalla Saez, MI, CADIS President, emphasized that Buddha's mercy and God's love exist to save people who suffer and that our core values are the same. The Russian-Ukrainian war is a man-made and unprecedented catastrophe. The most innocent people are the people who are suffering. We must confront and cooperate for the sake of Ukrainians who are suffering. This is a great responsibility and mission and we will provide respect and quality assistance to Ukrainian refugees with gratitude and love.
Po Wen Yen, CEO of the Tzu Chi Charity Foundation, said that Tzu Chi people around the world have provided assistance to refugees in Turkey, Thailand, Jordan, Serbia and other places and have cooperated with the Indian Spiritual Medicine Association in response to the new outbreak of COVID-19, assisting more than 50 churches and groups, and more than 750,000 people. Yan Bowen said that we share a common mission to serve humanity and believe that interfaith cooperation will help refugees in all aspects. At the same time, he showed gratitude for the donations and support. The strength of one person may be small, but the support of people from all walks of life can help all those in need. The hope is that the war will end and displaced refugees will be able to return to their homes as soon as possible and resume their lives in peace and safety.
In his speech, Venerable Jing Si Jingshe De Yuan mentioned the philosophy of Tzu Chi's founder, Venerable Cheng Yen, that "when people hurt, I feel pain and when people suffer, I feel compassion."
In conclusion, Fr. Aris Miranda recalled the feeling of compassion that so many people around the world feel. Thoughts were turned to the clergy in Ukraine and their strength to continue to serve in Ukraine with a strong and fearless spirit.