Shen Limin, General Secretary, Shanghai YWCA, showing t-shirts designed from paintings by children with autism
The ministries of the Shanghai YMCA and YWCA – in cooperation with each other are impressive! It’s all about love, they will tell you again and again.
First is their ministry with migrant persons – some 6 million in and out of Shanghai. Many work in low-skilled jobs with low income. The Y’s work with migrants to help train for jobs – to learn how to comply with Shanghai regulations – to do health screenings (especially for women among whom breast cancer is particularly high.)
A seemingly frivolous but important service is helping to buy tickets to get home for holidays. Why is buying tickets such a service? It seems that during the Spring Festival, so many migrant persons return home that extra trains are scheduled. It used to be that persons would wait in line all night to buy their ticket, but the government outlawed that and put the tickets online. However, often the migrants do not have access to the internet or the computer skills to complete the transaction in the brief moment allowed by the program. So the Y staff and volunteers help folks get home for the holidays.
The YM and YW work with migrant persons because they understand and want others to understand that the love of God is for everyone.
The Y’s also emphasize programs help youth (who, due to the one child policies in China, often do not know how to cooperate well) to learn the joys of serving others. One important project has been to team up with the Singapore YMCA to send 500 youth from Shanghai and 500 from Singapore to help with the earthquake aftermath in Sichuan Province. Youth programs generally 1.) Give Christian background – especially how in Christ to be servants of each other, 2.) Give training in specific ways to serve others, 3) Give opportunities for youth to go into the community to use their new skills. For example youth may go into a senior or early childhood center. Their goal? To help the residents pass on the love. Youth serve the seniors and children and then invite them also to serve others. It’s a visible witness to the love of God.
Another important project has to do with children with autism, a little known reality in China. The YM and YW have helped many children and families learn to identify autism and begin to thrive.
It’s all about love – the love of God shared by God’s children. These are our partners in mission. Part of the Disciples Mission Fund family. Thanks be to God.
Below is a photo of the YMCA and YWCA staff with the Global Ministries delegation. The framed saying on the wall says “Glorify God: Serve People”