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Tsu-Chi awards scholarships to 25 students at IVC, SDSU

May 02, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The Tsu-Chi Foundation awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships at a ceremony Wednesday night to 25 students attending San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus and Imperial Valley College.

To qualify for the scholarships, the students had to write an essay describing the goals of the foundation and meet academic benchmarks.

Grace Kuo Lee, director of the foundation's Calexico office, said the students will receive $500 per semester.

She added awarding the scholarships annually is just part of the foundation's overall mission to offer charity, provide medical aid, serve the community and protect the environment.

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For instance, she noted, Tsu-Chi members wore their distinctive outfits of blue polo shirts and white pants as they passed out clothing and food to Mexicali residents last weekend. Around $7,500 to $8,000 worth of goods were passed out to about 250 people.

The foundation is planning on providing clothing and supplies worth millions of dollars to Afghanistan residents affected by the U.S. war against the Taliban.

William Keh, executive vice president of Tsu-Chi USA, said the goods should arrive by the end of June.

In addition, he said the foundation is almost finished building a village for earthquake victims in El Salvador. The village includes 340 duplexes, a school, a clinic and a soccer field.

On the domestic front, the foundation has earmarked almost $2 million to help 3,000 people affected by the terrorist attack on the U.S. Sept. 11.

The foundation was started in 1966 by a Taiwanese Buddhist nun named Cheng Yen. Her teachings of love and compassion serve as the inspiration for the foundation's works.

Keh said there are more than 5 million members worldwide.

Former Calexico Mayor Gilbert Grijalva, a Tsu-Chi volunteer for 10 years, said the foundation's goals cross all boundaries.

"I've been involved with it even though I'm a Catholic. There's a great calling to help those that are needy or hurting; to be compassionate about things we do and not for political reasons," he said.

Keh said the foundation welcomes members of all religious denominations.

To find out more about the foundation stop by the Calexico office at Hacienda Plaza on Scaroni Road.

"We're open to the community, welcome more volunteers to join us in teamwork," Lee said.

Grijalva said the foundation office could be used in the near future for Mandarin classes and Spanish classes for the Mandarin speakers in the community. There also could be classes in the future on tea preparing or cooking.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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