Tzu Chi International Medical Association is an organized global service network of over 5,500 licensed doctors and nurses who serve as volunteers. They always use utmost care and attention to treat the poor and the sick, providing total medical care including surgeries. During disasters, TIMA volunteers cooperate with the Tzu Chi Disaster Relief Committee by going to the disaster area to help treat the sick and wounded victims. As of December 2006, TIMA has already helped roughly 940,000 people in over 32 countries.
Tzu Chi was founded in 1966, focusing mainly on charitable volunteer work. Through 10 years of experience in helping the needy and the sick, Master Cheng Yen realized that sickness often leads to poverty, and that charity work only provides temporary solutions to the problems. Master realized that curing people’s diseases can actually prevent poverty. So in 1972, with the support of some doctors and medical professionals from the Hualien Provincial Hospital, Tzu Chi started holding twice weekly free medical missions for the poor in the area. The doctors even went on regular home visits to far flung areas where medical services were not available.
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