A new charity foundation was officially launched in Shanghai at the weekend with the aim of engaging more people, especially expatriates, in serving the needy.
The Bless Foundation was established with support from the Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Shanghai Voluntary Services Foundation, the Shanghai Yicai Flying Foundation, the Kunshan Jieen Foundation and The Expatriate Center (TEC), a non-governmental organization dedicated to serving the international community in Shanghai.
The organization aims to support charity projects such as children’s disease relief and education relief in rural areas; promote women’s health in impoverished areas and employment opportunities for the less fortunate; and provide cognitive care for widowed seniors, as well as people with disabilities, according to Cao Lan, the person in charge of the foundation.
On the launch day, the Silent Barista initiative was introduced to Bless. The program, supported by Oatly, an oatmilk company, has sponsored barista training for more than 200 hearing impaired people since 2020.
“In the future, we plan to raise funds through various events and methods to carry out more projects focusing on disability assistance, with the goal of providing professional skills training, employment guidance and entrepreneurial opportunities to them,” said Cao.
Prior to its official launch, the foundation had already taken some young Chinese and foreign students to southwest China’s Yunnan Province as volunteer teachers through the “Support Yunnan Charity Trip” in July.
Among them, 13-year-old Louie Yang from Dulwich College Shanghai served as a volunteer teacher assistant during the character courses for local primary school students from the ethnic Miao minority.
“It was the first time I participated in such a charity trip,” he said. “Serving others helped me gain tremendous joy and satisfaction.”
Linda Painan, chairperson of TEC, said the center is dedicated to serving the international community and Chinese returnees through various meaningful events in order to meet their needs in the areas of working, living and family, helping them build a “home away from home. “
“Each individual sees themselves as a family member of this place we call ‘home’ by contributing and caring for one another,” she pointed out.
“TEC is very honored to be a huge part of the Bless Foundation to carry out more volunteering opportunities and projects such as Youth Volunteer Projects. I hope our next generation will build on the spirit of dedication to love others as themselves and to serve others starting at a young age.”
Volunteers can participate in charity activities through the TEC WeChat mini program “TEC 祝福(Bless).”
Chen Zhenmin, deputy secretary-general of the China Volunteer Service Federation and vice president of the Shanghai Volunteer Association, offered his congratulations on the launch of the Bless Foundation and appreciated the dedication of charity organizations, social enterprises and benevolent individuals from all walks of life towards voluntary services.
“With the establishment of the Bless Foundation, we hope to inspire more people within the international community to extend their charitable services by being a part of Bless,” he said. “Together we can inherit and influence our next generation to become individuals who possess a caring heart for the good of our society.”
Jing Ying, vice president of the Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said via video call that she was grateful to see so many young people and teenagers from both the local and international communities, all joining hands to do charity work to help and support the needy.
“The act of volunteerism has no boundaries or age limits, it brings the nation together in unity,” she observed.
“I hope with the love and care of people from all walks of life, the foundation will have a bright future in helping underprivileged students, the disabled, and the poor and needy, and may this journey of charity extend to the greater community.”