This week’s WIP (Work in Progress) is inspired by China’s bitterly cold winter. I am currently in Beijing for a month doing an intensive Chinese course and it is FREEZING.
Beijing has a high of -3 and low of -12 and it’s been snowing in Shanghai. Yesterday my host family took me to the local antique markets where a lot of ethnic minority groups sell their wares. While I was tapping my feet to stop them from numbing to the bone, I noticed a homeless man being ruffled by the police. It made me wonder how on earth migrant workers and the homeless survive in weather like this. I’m sure many of them don’t.
Urban migration is huge in China as farmers and rural folk move to the big cities to find work and opportunity. There is limited support for migrant workers and many end up being exploited and working under dreadful conditions. HandsOn Shanghai is an organisation that supports charities who provide desperately needed services for migrant workers and their children. What I like about HandsOn Shanghai is that they act as enables and connect existing charities with corporations and individuals who want to financially support charities or volunteer.
HOS’s primary objective is to identify the needs of local NGOs and organize flexible volunteer programs for busy professionals.
To connect volunteers with local community-based organizations, Hands On Shanghai engages in three main activities:
1) Coordinate volunteer opportunities for active professionals, according to their availability and personal interests
2) Support local community organizations with direct donations, fundraising planning and execution, community project design and implementation
3) Design and manage a variety of volunteer programs for private sector partners in Shanghai (From website)
You might not see HandsOn out in the cold handing out blankets but they are behind the scenes working to sustain local organisations that directly support the migrant population. Supporting existing charities who already have the networks and local relationships is far more beneficial than creating another organisation. Working with corporations to ensure their CSR funding and programs support these charities reduces the possibility of corruption and also provides opportunities for employees to engage with their local communities through volunteering.
For more information check out their website.