Master Cheng Yen realized that illness can cause poverty, and conversely, be aggravated by poverty. Both were linked in a vicious cycle, leaving people with no way out, especially in Hualien where medical resources were inadequate. With the conviction that all lives are equal, the Master wanted to attend to the sick in Eastern Taiwan to eliminate the problem of poverty.
Therefore in 1979, hoping to extend the spirit and wisdom of Buddhism forever, she called for the construction of a hospital. Starting from nothing, she began to raise funds. There were periods of obstacles and setbacks, but because of her untiring persistence, many people were touched and gathered to form a stream of love. From the first fund raising in 1979 to the opening of the hospital in 1986, this was a memorable time. It is commendable that Tzu Chi Hospital was the first to abolish the requirement of a cash deposit before admitting a patient.
Between April 1994 and May 2006, Tzu Chi Malacca carried out 119 rounds of monthly relief. On each occasion free haircuts, vegetarian meals and entertainment were provided. Financial and material support were handed out and free medical services were also rendered to the poor and needy. As well as Western medicine, the Malacca Tze Cheong Kor has participated with free Chinese medicine for the past thirteen years. Also, Yong-Shin Pharmaceutical Factory (YSP) has supplied free medicine for use in the Tzu Chi Free Clinic.