The Tzu Chi Foundation is a Taiwainese NGO that helps enhance refugee self-reliance and eases the pressure on host countries by implementing programs regarding livelihood, health and education.
Submitted by: Hanford Lin, Special Projects Lead
Introduction to the project
Southeast Asia: Malaysia, Thailand
2007 - Present
The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF), or “Tzu Chi”, has projects that are implemented and used in Asia. Refugees are trained and empowered to become leaders, program implementers and trainers of other trainers, or other refugees. The project includes partnerships with different stakeholders including refugees themselves and host populations. Our core belief, and faith, is that refugees are more than just people who need help. They are assets and can empower themselves, if given the right opportunity, and strengthen host communities as a whole.
In Malaysia and Thailand, BTCF and its partners implements medical, educational, and livelihoods initiatives. It also implements programs where refugees are trained and employed as health trainers, translators, educators, and other general staff.
It is through making space for refugees to become their own leaders in their aid and development system, as well as facing and overcoming challenges together while coming from various backgrounds, which promotes self-reliance and eases pressure on host communities. Refugees are brought closer together, their bonds are strengthened and the project is too.
The projects aims to enhance refugee self-reliance through education and training, empowering refugees to become providers as well as beneficiaries.
Financial, medical, educational, and material.
- US State Department Bureau of Populations, Refugees, and Migration
How challenges were overcome
Challenges regarding language, cultural and communication barriers were overcome by first training refugees to become program implementers and then staffing the program with trained refugees.
Results of the Good Practice
- Refugees in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Istanbul have trained and employed other refugees as health trainers, teachers, translators, massage therapists, barbers, and program staff.
- Primary and secondary school aged-students in Malaysia have received an education.
- Refugees in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur received free healthcare services in the forms of static and mobile clinics.
The next steps for this project involves the expansion and replication of the models used.