Consular spouses in Shanghai host charity fundraiser

By Yang Lan Source:Global Times Published: 2016/3/6 18:28:11

With a theme of "Charity Begins at Home - My Home is Your Home," the annual charity fundraiser hosted by Consular Spouses Shanghai (CSS) and Shanghai Women's Federation (SWF) will take place at the Zendai Himalayas Center in Pudong New Area on March 12.

Members of CSS and various consulates in Shanghai will donate household items such as furniture and crockery with features unique to their home countries to be raffled and sold at the event's charity bazaar. For the VIP auction, luxury items and exotic travel packages will be offered to distinguished guests.

"This is an opportunity to promote and showcase the creativity and diversity of our countries while we work for charity," Busisiwe Thage, president of CSS, told the Global Times.

Thage arrived in Shanghai in 2013 when her husband Thabo Thage was appointed as the Consul General of South Africa in Shanghai. Upon settling down in the city, Thage joined CSS. "I saw it as a platform to represent my beautiful country while working toward charitable causes," she said.

CSS was founded in 1995 by a group of diplomatic spouses with an objective to promote intercultural exchanges among member countries and China as well as improve the lives of Chinese women and children through charity. To date they have supported over 60 different charity projects in Shanghai, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces.

This nonprofit network currently has 50 members from 21 different countries represented in Shanghai. Most of them are diplomatic spouses and partners who are in Shanghai to support their spouses and partners. Different from the chambers of commerce or expat associations of certain countries, CSS is a multinational and multicultural community.

"It is a diverse multicultural network which allows one to have a broader mind, to be receptive of how other people think and learn from them," said Thage. "It allows for a convergence of cultures especially at this critical time when the world needs to address and overcome prejudice of any shape or form."

In recent years, CSS has organized a series of events promoting knowledge and understandings among different foreign nationals in Shanghai. Last year, a "Fashion with Love" fundraising gala was organized in cooperation with SWF, Shanghai Charity Foundation and Shanghai Fashion Culture Festival.

The fashion show exhibited apparels and accessories from different cultures and raised over 450,000 yuan ($69,065) toward charity. Other past events include a qipao fashion show, art exhibitions and a jewelry showcase.

Charitable causes

All funds raised through the events have been donated to charity projects. For the 2016 charity event, CSS will support two local children's charities, The Library Project and Chunhui Children.

"The Library Project is dedicated to improving children's literacy and providing teachers with educational resources in under-financed primary schools and orphanages in China and beyond. Chunhui Children works with government-run social welfare institutions to provide love and care for institutionalized children enabling them to reach their full potential," said Thage.

CSS has had close cooperation with SWF since 1995. Since 2010, the cooperation has expanded beyond fundraising to cultural exchange and people-to-people diplomacy.

"Every year, we brainstorm themes for the annual charity event with CSS members, then work with them to carry out our ideas by finding venues, sponsors and partners," said Li Rong, vice president of SWF.

SWF has branches and offices in multiple districts, townships and villages, serving 19 million women and children in Shanghai. The federation has invited local Chinese residents, its member institutions and Chinese businesses to participate in this year's fundraiser.

"From an idea to a successful event, it takes a lot of effort. But there are many people and organizations who help us. Till now I am still receiving phone calls from people who want to donate items for the auction and others who want to buy these items," said Li. Local sponsors such as Fissler, Herose Club and Mucci have also offered support. The event is expected to attract over 500 participants.

Thage said that apart from items donated by consulates, members of CSS and generous sponsors, the following local and international companies have stepped up with great support to CSS with sponsorships to set up libraries in rural schools around China:

Huawei Technologies South Africa (Pty) Ltd, Mgabadeli Afro-Asia Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Shanghai Treasureway Culture Media Co. LTD, S & C International Group Co. LTD and Jiangsu Baoli International Investing Co. LTD. She also invited more companies to work with CSS as part of their corporate social responsibility.

International support

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has sponsored for auction a business class ticket on its nonstop flight between Hangzhou and Amsterdam, with Andaz Amsterdam sponsoring accommodation for two nights for two people at their five-star boutique hotel in the center of Amsterdam.

South African Airways has also sponsored two return tickets from Hong Kong to South Africa to be auctioned, together with tour packages sponsored by Joburg Tourism and Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. Joburg Tourism will offer accommodation for two guests for two nights and a guided tour of the city of Johannesburg, the economic hub of South Africa and a special tour of Soweto, a South African township with a rich history located in the urban area of Johannesburg. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve has sponsored two nights accommodation for two people in their five-star luxurious bush safari lodge for an unforgettable wildlife safari experience.

Hotel accommodation from the following sponsors will also be auctioned: Le Passage in Moganshan, Shangri-La Pudong Hotel in Shanghai, Palazzo Versace in Dubai and Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi in Abu Dhabi.

"We have received support from many other sponsors; no contribution is too small and we appreciate each and every one of them. Working together, let us change lives for the better!" said Thage.

Companies interested in cooperating with the CSS could contact them through the following e-mail address:

Busisiwe Thage, president of CSS


Li Rong, vice president of SWF



Scenes from previous events organized by CSS and SWF

Photos: Yang Hui/GT and courtesy of Christophe Catala

Newspaper headline: Changing lives

Posted in: Metro Shanghai

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