Now with contact lenses and literacy training, Ma Long can soon qualify for a more satisfying job.


How your gifts are transforming lives in Shanghai

Issue 22

Spring 2024

Homecoming for a longtime friend

Ma Long first visited the new drop-in center back in 2008

I feel like I’m home.

Our latest arrival at the Yunnan Career Hub is an old friend. Ma Long recently returned to the Renewal Center in Shanghai having lost his job as a security guard. His employers discovered that he couldn’t read or write, which is now a requirement almost everywhere you go. Along with his very poor eyesight, Ma Long faces huge obstacles in gaining long-term employment and stability.

Bound to struggle from the day he was born, Ma Long lost his father when he was just a baby – and his mother, after giving birth at home, abandoned him. This is part of the reason he never learned to read or write or was even issued a hukou (national identity card).

But since reconnecting with Renewal, all that has changed. Not only does Ma Long now have a much-needed hukou thanks to support from friends like you, we’ve helped him get corrective lenses, and he’s finally in literacy training. He’s also learning to cook and regularly prepares full meals for our communal suppers.

Ma Long works incredibly hard, but also needs longer-term support. That's why we’re glad your gifts are giving him a place where he can rebuild his life and see a brighter future!

The same, but different ...

Women are finding friendship, help and support

By Renewal’s women’s services volunteers

Chairman Mao once said, “Women hold up half the sky.” But a homeless woman in one of the world’s largest cities is bound to feel the sky is falling on her. While men find safety in numbers and often put on a brave face, women on the streets feel vulnerable and terrified. Constantly looking out for thieves and attackers can cause huge emotional strain.

All this means that the women who visit Renewal’s drop-in center during the hours set aside for them every Thursday need to see a woman greeting them. They also come hoping for a little more privacy, greater security, a listening ear and just a bit more time – even if they only need a few more minutes to pick out a clean new shirt or coat.

We feel glad – even privileged – to “hold up half the sky” for these women who feel beaten down. The suffering they’ve already endured inspires us to make sure each one gets the care and attention she needs. We might be meeting strangers and newcomers, but this place feels like home – so many people come here to give and receive love.

Most women only need a hot meal, a shower, or a new item or two of clothing to replace ones that are old and worn out. But as you may have heard, one woman gave birth here. Where would that mother and baby be today without the caring support another only a woman can give?

Although lots has changed since the Renewal Center started nearly 15 years ago, we still really enjoy being sisters to the men who come here for help. It’s also amazing to share the load with Jimmy, Hanson and the team of guys who work tirelessly to make sure your support changes women’s lives!

Because Renewal can’t offer a separate space for women, we give them a separate day.