Dedicated Buddhism: JTS Korea, INEB to distribute $ 50,000 in COVID-19 disaster reduction

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Committed Buddhism: JTS Korea, INEB to distribute $ 50,000 in COVID-19 crisis relief

By Craig Lewis

Buddhistdoor Global | 2020-11-20 | Catering at PDO, a Buddhist monastery school in Myanmar.  Image courtesy JTS KoreaCatering at PDO, a Buddhist monastery school in Myanmar. Image courtesy JTS Korea

Join Together Society Korea (JTS Korea), a Buddhist humanitarian aid organization founded by the renowned Korean Seon (Zen) monk Venerable Pomnyun Sunim in collaboration with the International Network of Committed Buddhists (INEB), has COVID-19 worth US $ 50,000 Dollar distributes emergency aid to vulnerable and severely affected communities in South and Southeast Asia.

“Most developed countries have had a major economic impact as a result of the pandemic, while developing countries have experienced severe economic devastation that has resulted in the collapse of basic social services,” JTS Korea told Buddhistdoor Global. In response, JTS Korea donated US $ 50,000 to INEB, which was distributed to 12 aid organizations in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Nepal – four countries particularly hard hit by the pandemic – to buy food and toiletries for 4,434 families or 23,140 people in 94 regions.

INEB has launched a wide range of projects and aid programs to help overcome suffering through the practice of Dharma and community engagement. Earlier this year, in response to the spreading pandemic, the group used its global reach to launch the Mindful Action: COVID-19 emergency fund to provide urgently needed aid to vulnerable and disadvantaged populations during the global coronavirus crisis. *

“The Mindful Action: The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund supports emergency relief efforts in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Nepal – countries with the greatest need in this time of crisis,” INEB Secretary Somboon Chungprampree told Buddhistdoor Global. “I would like to thank the wonderful generosity of JTS Korea in helping us provide basic needs to some of the most marginalized and vulnerable groups in these countries.”

ADS volunteers provide in Bangladesh rice bags.  Image courtesy JTS KoreaADS volunteers provide in Bangladesh rice bags. Image courtesy of JTS Korea

INEB, headquartered in Bangkok, was founded in 1989 by the well-known Thai academic, activist and social critic Sulak Sivaraksa and a group of Buddhist and non-Buddhist thinkers and social activists. The aim of the organization is to bring committed Buddhists around the world together, to promote understanding, cooperation and networking between inter-Buddhist and interreligious groups and to actively address urgent global problems such as human rights, conflict resolution and environmental issues.

INEB has been working closely with the Atish Dipankar Society (ADS) and the Parbatya Bouddha Mission (PBM) in Bangladesh since the relief fund was set up. the Nagaloka Relief Fund, His Holy Majesty’s Foundation (FHSM), the ADECOM Network and the Buddhist Relief Fund in India; the monastery school of the Kalyana Mitta Foundation (KMF) and Phaung Daw Oo (PDO) in Myanmar; and the Nepal Buddhist Federation (NBF) in Nepal.


Two children help transport Bikalpa in Nepal.
Image courtesy JTS Korea

“These agencies have long acted as NGOs in their respective countries, helping people living in extreme poverty,” JTS Korea said. “Since food shortages are the biggest concern for many of these people, most agencies have focused on delivering food and toiletries that are 15 to 30 days’ worth.”

At the time of writing on November 20, a total of nearly 57 million confirmed COVID-19 infections have been reported worldwide, with 1.4 million deaths recorded and 36.6 million recovered. ** U.S. public health experts have estimated COVID-19’s death rate is around 0.6 percent – six times higher than typical seasonal influenza outbreaks -. However, the data is inconclusive due to different COVID-19 testing procedures in different countries and different methods for classifying and reporting COVID-19 as a cause of death.


AMBA volunteers visit homes to deliver relief supplies in India.
Image courtesy JTS Korea

“Many day laborers in Bangladesh were hungry due to COVID-19. ADD and PBM have provided essential foods like rice, oil, potatoes and salt. They also provided toiletries such as soaps and face masks. Some of the recipients shed tears of gratitude when the volunteers arrived to deliver the goods, ”said JTS Korea.

“In India there were nearly 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day at one point, and many workers, low-income workers and migrant workers lost their jobs and had to move to rural areas where the cost of living is lower. Their biggest problem was getting food. Those who cannot provide proof of residence cannot receive government assistance, and even physically reaching government agencies for assistance during the lockdown is challenging. Six agencies – Nagallo’s COVID Response Team, AMBA, FHSM, ADECOM, YBS, and the Manuski Trust – operate across India delivering aid, food and toiletries to remote areas.


FHSM volunteers deliver relief supplies to families in India.
Image courtesy JTS Korea

“In Myanmar, KMF visited eight refugee camps and delivered COVID-19 notices, soaps, hand sanitizers, mosquito nets, raincoats and textbooks for children and young adults. KMF also visited PDO to install 10 vanities and deliver food and toiletries for students and school officials, ”said JTS Korea.

“In Nepal, day laborers and people who live in shanty cities were faced with great challenges due to lockdowns. The high population density and the lack of appropriate preventive measures have made shanty cities particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Bikalpa volunteers delivered much needed food. Chokgyur Lingpa Foundation volunteers highlighted a particularly memorable opportunity when they cared for two widows who had no family or relatives to support them.

Venerable Pomnyun Sunim.  Image courtesy of the Jungto SocietyVenerable Pomnyun Sunim. Image courtesy of the Jungto Society

Ven. Pomnyun Sunim, a widely recognized author, Dharma teacher and social activist in his native South Korea, has founded numerous organizations, initiatives and projects around the world. Among them, JTS Korea is active as an international aid organization committed to eradicating poverty and hunger through humanitarian aid and sustainable development, while the Jungto Society is a voluntary community based on Buddhist teachings and dedicated to solving modern social problems, which cause suffering, including environmental degradation, poverty and conflict.

In August, JTS Korea, in partnership with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), provided 10,000 personal protective clothing for Rohingya refugees living in camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. In April, JTS Korea donated a shipment of PPE to medical workers at Northern Mindanao Medical Center in the Philippines, consisting of 400 coveralls, 250 N95 masks, 200 eye protection and 3,000 surgical masks.

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