It might be a little late to make a new year’s resolution, but it’s never too late to start helping those less fortunate than yourself. The good people at these charities have made it their mission to do just that.

From mental health foundations to animal rescue centers, Shanghai is full of people who just want to help. For them to be able to do this though, they themselves need support, so get involved today and improve someones life!

The Charities

Baobei Foundation provide surgeries and post-surgical rehabilitation for Chinese orphans with life-threatening birth defects. The word “baobei” in Chinese means treasured and precious child, which conveys their message that every child born, no matter the circumstances, is to be looked after and cared for as they are all equally important. Every child deserves to be loved, and the people at Baobei make no exceptions.

The Chi Heng Foundation is an NGO that funds and operates projects in education and care for children and adults impacted by AIDS. “Chi Heng” means “wisdom in action”, and they use this mantra to ensure that no one is excluded or discriminated against just because they have AIDS. CHF promises a long-term commitment to helping children not only complete their education but also receive extensive support along the way.

In addition to providing classes, tours and social events for expats, The Community Center also helps to run a few volunteer programs. Their Charity Link aims to pair potential volunteers with organizations in the city. They also run Giving Tree, which is a charity initiative aimed at helping children in need in rural China by sending out gift bags sponsored by companies and individuals.


The Essential Learning Group is a social enterprise that provides special education and developmental, behavioral, and mental health services to children with special needs in China. Their main facilities are in Putuo and Pudong, but specialists regularly travel to neighboring cities such as Suzhou and Nanjing. ELG’s therapeutic services are unique and multidisciplinary, offering support plans for children or families covering all relevant areas of a child’s life.

HandsOn Shanghai is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 that promotes volunteerism and aims to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world. They currently have more than 2500 volunteers each month through more than 150 local service projects who are all working towards the development of healthy and vibrant community.

Heart to Heart is a non-profit organization composed of volunteers that provide care and support to Chinese children undergoing heart surgery whose parents cannot afford to pay themselves. Some other voluntary services they provide are hospital play-room sessions, teaching English to medical staff, collection and distribution of clothing, blankets and food, and participation in fund-raising projects.

Home Sweet Home is a group that meets every Saturday to invite homeless people in Shanghai to a safe place where they can eat, shower, collect clothes and just generally feel welcome and appreciated. Life on the streets is hard, so these kind of events are priceless for people with nowhere to call their own. Volunteers can lend a hand with this or get involved in their other projects like English teaching, design, or raising awareness at coffee mornings and other events.

Morning Tears Alliance is a non-profit organization that stands up for children of convicts and help them achieve their full potential. They believe that a child shouldn’t have to suffer from the mistakes of a parent, and that a fair chance should be a birthright for any child, no matter what the circumstances.


Lifeline offers free and anonymous support on the phone for individuals in times of emotional distress or crisis. Their 10am-10pm helpline is geared towards suicide prevention, help with anxiety, improving self esteem, and basically anything else you are having trouble with.

Paw Pals Animal Rescue (PPAR) is an animal shelter that finds homes for their rescued cats through adoption. To think, in Ancient Egypt, the penalty for abusing or mistreating a cat could result in a death sentence. Now, many are cast aside and left to fend for themselves in the dangerous city. PPAR’s mission is to help as many as possible and provide them with a new home.

PAW is a for-profit vet clinic that have English-speaking doctors and can handle check-ups, surgeries, lab tests, and even grooming and dentistry. Sometimes they do pro-bono rescue work for injured animals.

The Renewal Center is a charity relying on donations to help homeless people in Shanghai. Your support can provide meals, friendship and warmth. On top of this, any donation goes toward providing the homeless with safe, temporary accommodation, career training – and help getting an essential national identity card.


Second Chance Animal Aid is a non-profit aimed at improving the health and welfare of pets through methods that avoid it ending up in a traditional shelter. They aim to do this through education, advocacy, medical care, and foster care for animals without a home.

is a café that helps young people with autism by improving their communication skills to help integrate into society. It’s run out of A-Coffee which was created in the hope that through the support of the charity, some of the attendees can learn to become baristas.

Shanghai Young Bakers is a charity program that provides underprivileged and marginalized young Chinese people between the ages of 17 and 23 with bakery classes, practical internships and English classes to improve career development options. We interviewed Cecile Cavoizy, Shanghai Young Baker’s Executive Director, not too long ago. In case you missed it, here it is again.

Stepping Stones is a registered non-profit charity that works with volunteer English teachers to improve the education of disadvantaged children. They train and supports hundreds of volunteers to teach English, digital literacy and other subjects to thousands of disadvantaged students each week at more than 30 project sites in Shanghai and more than 15 sites in rural China, mostly through volunteer tours and through the internet.