NPO Spotlight: What drives a generation's future ambitions?
I recently visited Shanghai Dabutong (大不同会馆) and spoke with Yuki Chen, the founder of the Dabutong Guild and vice Editor-in-Chief of the Shanghai Times.
Dabutong (大不同) in Mandarin means life should be different. After having an insightful conversation with friends about their future goals, Yuki realized that students and young professionals in China as a whole do not often reflect on the deeper meaning of life. Based on various news articles and the content of social media, their focus seems to be on their day-to-day activities and having comfortable lifestyles. Thus in 2011, this NPO was born. The organization’s name was carefully picked to reflect the mission of the organization which is to encourage the younger generations to think about what kind of future they want.
When the organization first started, its main agenda was to provide inspirational lectures by individuals who have had interesting career paths and unique life experiences. The lectures became so popular that they even had to turn away people for their large 1,000-2,000 person events. Dabutong also hosts smaller 100-200 people talks and topical seminar series, for example about parenting and theater.
Attendees are typically between the ages of 25 to 40. Their backgrounds vary, and many are leading professionals in their industries or socialites. As many have become interested in volunteerism and pro bono work for local charities, members have helped to make the interiors of a local children’s hospital more friendly for the patients while others have provided tutoring for sick patients who have missed schooling due to their treatments. Dabutong was also recently named one of the top ten ways to volunteer in Shanghai.
Yuki and Dabutong were excited to announce they found a beautiful new long-term home for the organization recently, including a cafe / reading floor and a lecture hall floor that can accommodate up to 200 attendees. The organization has a great summer schedule lined up this year so check their Weibo for new listings.
Dabutong is able to make a great impact in the community in large part due to the support of its affiliated media group and corporate sponsorship of its events.
We commend Dabutong for their commitment to challenging the status quo and enriching the lives of the younger generations here in China.
Contributed by Simon Li
Simon Li is our most recent addition to the SVG Team. Simon recently graduated from Tianjin Polytechnic University with a degree in Network Engineering. His interest in the social sector first stemmed from a volunteer trip to a nursing home in Shanghai. After better understanding the aging issue occuring in China, he became more interested and active in the philanthropic sector. We are thrilled to have Simon as part of the team.