Anniversary of DDM's relief work: rebuilding earthquake stricken areas of Sichuan

One year has passed since Dharma Drum Mountain Social Welfare and Charity Foundation (DDMSWCF) began its humanitarian relief work in areas struck by the deadly earthquake in Sichuan Province of China last year.

Its compassionate long term commitment has been highly praised by local governments, non-government organizations and the victims alike. DDMSWCF has continued to uphold the offering of educational assistance and spiritual counseling to those in need.

From February 2009, the first phase of financial assistance was made available to nearly 400 financially disadvantaged students from seven remote high schools in Xiushui, Anxien, Shifan, Yunxi, Beichuan,Pinwu and Manyang precincts. DDMSWCF will continue to offer disadvantaged students with assistance to help lift their heavy financial burden so that they will have a more peaceful mindset towards learning.

Ground has been broken in March for the construction of the Prime Elementary School in Xiushui, with its classroom due to be completed by summer this year. The reconstruction of the Medical Centre in the same area has also been scheduled to commence at the end of May and is expected to resume providing medical care by the end of 2009.

In addition, DDMSWCF has hosted the "Life Education Symposium" four times in Anxien and Shifan precincts to nurture talents in and to provide spiritual counseling.

Looking back at the relief efforts provided throughout this first year, DDMSWCF has fulfilled each of the promises made to the earthquake victims. Through caring and practical programs, such as "Peace of Mind Relief Stations" set up in Xiushui Township and Shifan City, DDMWCF hopes to enable people to cultivate a peaceful mind and body so these victims and their families can also benefit in the long run.

The chief of the relief team, Venerable Guo Pin, also Deputy Abbot of DDM, said that the fundamental guideline for DDM's relief work is "Whilst we provide care we also provide education, and whilst we educate we also do it in a caring manner. When providing material support and spiritual counseling we do so while taking into consideration the local custom and culture."

From the design of schools and medical centers which DDMSWCF assisted in rebuilding, it is apparent that these principles were applied to their architecture. The interior facilities were also designed using renewable energy concepts. In addition, DDMSWCF has actively invited medical professionals from Taiwan to assist local professionals and volunteers in spiritual counseling and in sanitation.

"The best reward is in making good vows", said Venerable Guo Pin.

DDM's mission in Sichuan is to spread the strength of virtue and looks forward to seeing students who have benefited from the assistance spread compassion to societies in need in the future, just like what DDM has initiated for them here.

DDMSWCF's Vice Secretary General, Venerable Chang Fa, said that in addition to the propagation of "Protecting the Spiritual Environment", DDMSWCF has also designed various programs, such as "Rebuilding A Healthy State of Mind" and "Life Education" which were designed with "the Six Ethics of the Mind". Their objective is to help people rebuild a normal and healthier life.

DDMSWCF will continue to stand alongside the earthquake victims in the face of the challenges ahead.

(translated by Jin Yang/edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)

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