Wuhan, a city thousands of expatriates from all parts of the world now call home. Although Christmas is generally an event celebrated by Christians, more and more people of all faiths (and atheists) now regard the 25th of December as a special day, a day we set aside our differences and spend time with friends, family and neighbours. The festive spirit isn’t felt as much in Wuhan and other Chinese cities since the 25th is not a public holiday, but a spirit of generosity is present.
Excluding individual birthdays, this is the one time of the year people exchange gifts and consider other people in their monthly budgets. However, there is one neglected group in our society. There are some expatriates who before coming to Wuhan, were part of charitable activities and organisations, but may have felt that they could not continue this type of work here in China. This is understandable, considering Chinese language as a barrier in daily life. I’ve lived in Wuhan for over two years now but only recently realised that our beloved We Chat and Alipay are not only great communication and money transfer apps, but are also powerful platforms we can use to help Chinese orphans and other people desperately in need of money and assistance.
“Tencent Charity” and “Donation” are functions available on We Chat and Alipay that are open to donations of any amount and allow you to select where you would like your money to go. Options range from orphan homes and schools to individual cases requesting assistance. In some cases there are touching background stories that explain the current struggles faced, donations received so far and amounts still needed. Unlike some activities we hear about, this is not restricted to Chinese people; donations are welcomed from everybody regardless of their nationality, their mother-tongue or the colour of their skin.
How can you help?
The platform is in Chinese but for those who kan-bu-dong, it is still a fairly simple process.
In We Chat
1Go to your wallet
-Open the last tab on the right of your screen labelled “Me”, select “Wallet”, then open “Tencent Charity”. From here you can either search for a place in Wuhan to make your donation by typing 武汉or picking any of the options available in the pictures that show up.
Once you’ve opened one, you can select the orange tab on the bottom-left of your screen that translates to “I want to donate”.
You can pick from pre-selected amounts or type in the amount you want to donate in the blank space available. Next you press the big orange tab which will take you to your phone’s browser to confirm you want to make a payment.
3Make a donation
A green tab in the middle of your screen is the final step. Press that and your money transfer is complete. If your payment is successful, you should receive a confirmation message from We Chat.
Press the “All” option, scroll down to the “Education and Commonweal” section and press “Donation”. Like the We Chat option, you can search for specific places, or choose one of the options in the pictures shown.
Fortunately, more information is provided in English on Alipay’s platform. You can press the orange “Donate” option on the bottom of your screen, pick one of the pre-selected amounts or write your own amount and press “Donate Now”. Again, you will be taken to a page on your phone’s browser to confirm you want to make a payment. Finally, select the blue tab in the middle of your screen and you’re done!
It’s that simple!
So while spending time with friends and family during Christmas spare a thought or some money and donate to people who could really need it.