Banding Together Against a Shared Threat
After enjoying COVID-free lives for over a year, Taiwan experienced a sudden and aggressive rise in community transmissions in May 2021. Pandemic restrictions were enacted to safeguard lives, but such measures inevitably hurt the economy. Inoculation efforts were sped up to allow normalcy to return to society as soon as possible. Tzu Chi has stepped up to help.
Helping With the Inoculation Program
When the Taiwanese government accelerated its COVID vaccination drive in mid-June, Tzu Chi offered its branch offices and other facilities — 20 places in all — to serve as mass inoculation centers. Volunteers have been mobilized to serve on-site. Properly safeguarded with personal protective equipment, they guide people and assist in other ways to help an event go smoothly.
Setting Up Prefab COVID Screening Stations
Medical professionals work in positive pressure rooms collecting samples from people to be tested for the coronavirus at a COVID screening station that Tzu Chi helped set up at the Tainan Songbo Recreational Center, Tainan. Working in such rooms, health workers are protected from exposure to infections. Tzu Chi erected prefabricated buildings to be used as screening stations as the need for COVID testing rose. By mid-June, 25 such stations had been completed in 11 counties and cities across Taiwan.
Safety Protocols Woven Into Daily Life
After Taiwan tightened its pandemic restrictions, people had to scan a QR code or provide their contact information when they entered a market (see photo), store, or other venue. This allowed for contact tracing in the event of an infection. Access control was also launched to minimize crowds. Everyone willingly endured such inconveniences in the hope that the pandemic could be reined in as soon as possible.
Nutritious Food for Underserved Families
Tzu Chi volunteers and school administrators from Nanhua Junior High School, Tainan, deliver vegetables, fruit, and other food items to a student’s home. Working with other organizations, the foundation launched a summer nutritional support program for disadvantaged schoolchildren and their families in late June 2021, benefiting more than 40,000 households across Taiwan.