Christmas Charities 2012

With American Thanksgiving just past, Christmas will be here before you know it. Instead of running around the Chinese countryside like crazy trying to find that perfect vintage Mao poster to mail home as a Christmas gift, consider donating to a China-focused charity on your loved one’s behalf this year.

Here are some charities that are doing great work here in China that you should check out.

1. Angel Mom Foundation + A Life a Time

Lili gets a surprise!

You may remember Lili, who was featured in several blogs over the summer (here on Lost Laowai as well). She had a condition that caused black fur-like hair to sprout all over her body. She was sponsored for surgery by the Angel Mom Foundation (in China) and A Life a Time, two organizations who work to help orphans and impoverished children get the medical treatment they need to be healthy and happy.

2. Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation

To improve the lives of impoverished rural communities in Asia, Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation partners with local communities to identify sources of poverty and implement programs in the areas of education and community health. They provide scholarships to enable vulnerable (poor, female, handicapped, minority, etc.) and qualified students (good character and grades) to attend high school, provide villages with clean drinking water systems, and provide other services to alleviate poverty and improve health and education in China and Cambodia. Here is a video showing some of the scholarship work they have been involved in:

3. Hua Dan

Hua Dan is Chinaʼs first social enterprise dedicated to using theatre to inspire the full potential in people. Hua Dan seeks to help people lead their own lives and their communities with courage, confidence and creativity. Their Magic Storybox Project is designed to address the psychological needs of youth aged 10 to 14 in various migrant communities throughout Beijing, and they also provide other programs for migrant children and their teachers.  Check out this video about the needs of one school for migrant workers’ children that Hua Dan works with:

The organization also has a Women’s Empowerment Program, a Sichuan Children’s Program, and a Migrant Vocational Training and Employment Program.

4. Bright Connection

I’m all about the music, baby!

Based in Sanya, Hainan, The Bright Connection helps handicapped children in China to have another place where they can feel at home, have fun and also progress physically and mentally from what ever point they come into the program. They focus on children with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and mental delays. In 2012 they completed their move to a new and larger facility where they can serve more children. Having volunteered with Bright Connection when I lived in Sanya, I know they are doing great work and making a real difference in the lives of these kids who are so often overlooked and even rejected by society.

5. ASK

Recently the bodies of five street children were found inside a dumpster, where they died of carbon monoxide poisoning after lighting a fire to keep warm. In response to this tragedy, Shanghaiist has just come out with a list of charities focused on assisting street children. ASK is one of these charities.

Warm clothes for winter.

Baoji Xinxing (New Star) Aid for Street Kids (ASK) is a non profit, independent private organization specializing in aid for street kids. Their aim is to provide immediate assistance to children in difficult circumstances and with early intervention and supportive actions they are creating a favorable environment to assist in the rehabilitation of these children.

Mediation is provided for families which assists the children in returning to their family, community and society. ASK ensures that they regain their elementary rights such as survival, development and education.

6. JAR – Jaiya’s Animal Rescue

Miso is ready to be adopted!

Whether you are a cat or a dog person, JAR has the perfect pet to join your family this Christmas. If you can’t adopt, there are lots of other ways to help the cats and dogs who have been rescued from the streets of Shanghai. JAR is dedicated to domestic animal population control, promoting pet adoption/fostering and reducing the incidence of abandonment. They believe that every animal deserves a safe, secure and loving home. See this post for an interview Lost Laowai had with Marvin, one of JAR’s founders.

7. The Library Project

Happiness is having a book.

Books of all kinds play a critical role in a child’s development. Unfortunately in China, many children do not have access to books beyond basic school textbooks. Children’s books are a luxury to have and are a rarity in many elementary schools, orphanages and community centers. Having fun educational books available helps to encourage independent learning, intellectual curiosity, and a lifelong passion for reading. The Library Project’s goal is to put books in the hands of eager kids throughout China and Asia.

If you have any information of other great China-focused charities that you think should be listed here, please mention them in the comments. Thanks and enjoy the holidays!