In 1997, Brother Ong Ji Long, from Tzu Chi Kota Kinabalu Liaison Office, brought a group of Tzu Chi volunteers to organize a tea reception at the Chinese Assembly Hall in Tawau. The hall was filled to capacity with interested audience and this was how Tzu Chi’s dharma ship sailed to Tawau.

On 26 March 2000, volunteers from Kota Kinabalu went to Tawau again to investigate a case involving the brother and sister of a Malay student in Sabah University who needed financial assistance. In October 2000, Liang Li Qing, a Tzu Chi Kota Kinabalu Office staff, decided to return to her hometown in Tawau. Liang, with the help of two local Buddhist friends, took on responsibility for this case, thus sowing Tzu Chi’s seeds of love and kindness in Tawau.

In July 2001, Tzu Chi Kota Kinabalu Office organised a volunteer training program for the second time that year. Brother Pang Zhi Qing from Tawau attended this course. After he returned to Tawau, he started Tawau contact point to encourage more volunteers to participate in Tzu Chi’s missions. He also accepted some of the cases referred to him by the local Buddhist Association. On 5 September 2001, Tzu Chi Melaka CEO, Brother David Liu, accompanied by Brother Ji Long, visited the Tawau contact point. After a better understanding of the locality of Tawau, Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan, he decided to let Tzu Chi Sandakan Liaison Office assist and support volunteers in Tawau. Sister Xia Ci Hui, who is the liaison person from Sandakan, started to visit Tawau once a month with help from Brother Pang De Yi. She helped volunteers in Tawau to set up administrative procedures, organise fellowship, home visit, relief distribution, recycling and other charity work.

On 6 February 2003, David Liu brought a group of volunteers to visit Tawau contact point. There he noticed that the volunteers and Tzu Chi’s activities have grown tremendously. With such an encouragement, he suggested that Melaka Office apply for Tawau to be set up as an official contact point. David Liu was very grateful to Sister Nie Run Zhu from Tawau, who used her house for Tzu Chi’s fellowship and activities. Sister Liang Li Qing accepted the responsibility to be the local liaison person, and to bring in more new volunteers to carry out Tzu Chi’s missions.

On 15 May 2003, Master Cheng Yen gave her approval for Tawau to be set up as an official contact point.

With guidance from Sister Xie Ci Hui from Sandakan, the volunteers in Tawau actively organized Tzu Chi’s activities, and as a result, managed to get many new volunteers to participate. With the help of local Tawau volunteers, Tzu Chi Tawau managed to set up its own office on 15 April 2004.

After setting up the new office, and with the help of the dedicated volunteers and the growth of Tzu Chi’s activities, Tawau contact point become an official Liaison Office on 1 February 2006.

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Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia (Tawau)

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