Shanghai Mamas in 2020 – a Year in Review

2020 truly has been a year like no other, for reasons both good and bad (bad being a huge understatement, obviously). As we enter our 15th year, the Executive Committee took a moment to reflect upon this year at our recent strategy planning day, and we wanted to share some of our thoughts and feelings with you all.
We’re proud that Shanghai Mamas provides such a strong support system to help members not only settle in and make lifelong friends, but also to find practical and emotional support. Our community is a great one, ever growing and changing, never more so than in 2020. We’ve all said goodbye to close friends, many of us have lost our pre-COVID support systems and our lives have been disrupted in ways which were unthinkable just a year ago. But, by working together, we have found different ways to connect and encourage friends old and new, we’ve continued to be there for one another, whether face to face or from afar. Let’s keep it that way – let’s be there for one another, and let’s keep our community strong. 
Shanghai Mamas aims to connect and support international families through our online portals and community led events, to allow our members to thrive in Shanghai. We’d like to walk you back through some of our key moments from this year, to remind ourselves of the ways in which we have done just that. 
2020 started with us posting New Year greetings in January, before coronavirus came to dominate the news. During the early days of the outbreak, we used our wide network of contacts to support our community by providing important information from respected health professionals such as Dr Laura and Dr George Hu. Our most popular article feature ever got over 7,000 views, as we shared practical tips on keeping your family safe, and contact information for medical providers.
In February, we helped you keep your little ones busy during our time at home by giving hints and tips on activities for those at home with young children, and advice from seasoned Shanghai residents about how to make the most of the waiting-it-out period. We were so grateful to the many local organisations who supported our #Mamaswaitingitout competition where so many of our families shared how they were keeping themselves occupied both in Shanghai and abroad.
In March, we polled members about how we could best support you, and we put together a packing list, based on the extensive experience of our community, for those looking to return to Shanghai. We also did virtual coffee mornings for those in quarantine and lock down, and we held our first Facebook live session to talk about the situation in Shanghai, and to connect with mamas still abroad.
By April, we were all pretty experienced at holding virtual meet ups, and our annual meet & greet was no different. We started thinking more deeply about the way we each experienced a global pandemic, and Lucia Hu helped put into words what so many of us were feeling – that so many of us were struggling with a sense of disconnection, that comparing and judging our experiences against those of others served no purpose, and that each of us had valid experiences and feelings.
Slowly, life returned to normal and by May we were able to hold in-person events again, coming together to celebrate Mother’s Day with various events. In May, we also recognized our volunteers of the year and hosted our first Teen Bingo event.
June saw us provide tips for those students in Shanghai who were able to return to school, and come out in force to hold a Bingo for Baby Home fundraising event, raising over 50,000 RMB. And, as school resumed, so did our coffee mornings.
Of course, this year we had more families than usual remain in Shanghai during the summer break, and so in August, Kellie hosted the incredibly popular teen roller skating party.
October saw us hold our Family Fall Festival, another of our events for the whole family, which sold out quickly. Food and drink, activities for everyone and prizes ensured that it was a day to be remembered!
As we moved towards November, we hosted our first book swap, and many other events, such as our Shanghai Mamas Talks series, a movie screening, a second teen event, spa days and of course our book group.
In November and December, we polled our members to make sure that we’ve served you as well as we think we have, and proudly supported the Ugly Christmas Jumper party.
It’s been a year like no other, and however you’ve experienced it, we hope that we have been here for you throughout. We know that having a strong support network around us helps all weather the storms that life throws at us, that we shouldn’t take each other for granted, and that we need to be there for each other. We will continue to do our best to help you thrive rather than survive 2021, whether in Shanghai or elsewhere. Please help us to do that – connect with us by attending an event near you (or join us online!), after all, you never know who you’ll meet and what influence they’ll have upon you in the years to come. Make the most of our community and we’ll help you make the most of Shanghai!
Wishing you a happy holiday season and best wishes for the coming year,
The Shanghai Mamas Executive TeamMelanie, Laetitia, Joyce, Hannah, Lisa, Sarah, Susan, Jessica and Xinxin