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June 28, 2012


Tong Xin Shop Chain Aids Migrant Workers in Beijing

The Tong Xin Shop chain is a social enterprise founded by Migrant Worker Home--New Worker Art Troupe in 2006. The chain, which has six locations in the suburbs of Beijing, operates a business of reselling and recycling used goods collected from local communities. They sell secondhand clothes and goods at cheap prices to low income earners, such as migrant workers who come to the city, after processing the goods with necessary care. Unsold goods are sold as raw material for recycling. The stores also have book sections, where local citizens can borrow books for free and where various events organized by the stores are held.

The founders of the shops, also migrant workers from rural areas in China, got started by receiving donations of secondhand clothes from people they came in contact with over the Internet or through word-of-mouth and then giving the clothes away for free. Migrant workers have difficulty affording clothes, even while a lot of out-of-style clothes are collecting dust in city dwellers' closets.

Unable to continue their service for free, but nevertheless aware of the needs of migrant workers, the founders decided to collect and sell secondhand clothes as a charity shop. They set up a committee of representatives from supporting organizations, volunteers, shop members, and the Migrant Worker Home. The budget of the committee is announced periodically.

The chain receives various forms of assistance from the outside as well. It set up donation drop-off locations in Beijing, and students at Tsinghua University, the People's University of China, and other universities volunteer to collect used clothes. With so many people showing their agreement and support, staff members feel a sense of purpose in their efforts.

This information is provided with a grant from Global Greengrants Fund.


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