Partnership between The Grand Lodge of Scotland and the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation to build a clinic in the Philippines
It was agreed that The Grand Lodge of Scotland would work in partnership with the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation to fund the building of a sustainable healthcare facility in Ormoc, Philippines using monies which had been raised by Scottish Freemasonry in response to the devastation which had been caused by Typhoon Haiyan. After much preparation and liaison behind the scenes by Brethren from The District Grand Lodge of the Far East and The Grand Lodge of the Philippines, the Memorandum of Agreement was signed by all parties on 24th May 2017 and the ground breaking ceremony took place the same day.
The appeal of working with the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation is its excellent reputation as a much respected and world renowned provider of disaster relief, coupled with the fact that the Foundation would not only supply the expertise to build the facility but also would be responsible for its future operation with all that this will entail. It was also pleasing to the Chairman and Members of the Benevolence and Care Committee that the Foundation’s ethos is to train as many local people as possible and use them to assist in the construction process and thereafter in the operation of the Clinic.
During the first week in June, the foundations were laid and by October the steel roof trusses were being installed. Despite some challenges, everyone worked hard to ensure that excellent progress continued to be made with the building works.
In December, Tropical Storm Kai-Tak moved across the island of Leyte north of Ormoc resulting in torrential rain. Flooding in the area was extensive, although, thankfully, the clinic site was unaffected. However, some of the Residents nearby were evacuated and, whilst not fully completed, it was pleasing that the Clinic building was able to be used to keep those who had been required to leave their homes safe and dry.
Perhaps a good indication of how much the Clinic is required by the local community is the fact that services are already being provided despite the Clinic not being quite complete. In January 2018, it was used as a base to provide inoculations for children in the area.