WoW was created and continues to be developed through the commitment and energy of volunteer expat women living in Wuhan. Every person who contributes is helping the well-being of others.
Below is a brief timeline outlining the main developments. It doesn’t however list everyone who has contributed and continue to contribute – through arranging activities, translating, replying to website postings, sharing opinions and supporting the main organizers. You know who you are – and we thank you!
2004-2010 – WoW is founded by Elsa Gade, Isis Hahn & Helen Booth, with Ginny Minninger suggesting the name “WOW – Women of Wuhan”. They hold Coffee Mornings, Christmas Bazaar and Crafts Fair to raise money for the educational fees of Hubei children who have been affected by HIV / Aids; a project organised by Professor Gui and David Wilmots. A “Shoebox Project”, suggested by Margaret Lovejoy, starts and continues until 2011.
2010 – Elsa Gade leaves Wuhan. Monthly fund-raising breakfasts continue being held at New World Hotel by Lynne Burrows and Lena Troelsen. The “WoW Craft Fair” is held at Wuhan Tiandi. Lynne and Lena organize the first fundraising WoW Dinner Dance which is held at Shangri-La Hotel with a sold-out attendance of 70 pax. They also start holding non fund-raising activities such as Afternoon Teas at Marco Polo.
2011 – Lynne Burrows leaves. Lena Troelsen teams up with Wanda Heron and they continue with monthly breakfasts, now at Jin Jiang International Hotel. Email list holds 60 pax including sponsors. The annual fund-raising “WoW Craft Fair” is held again at Wuhan Tiandi which is where Panida Grinneback meets them. WoW website and logo are created by Panida in September. Second WoW Dinner Dance takes place at Shangri-La with 110 pax.
2012 – Wanda Heron and Panida Grinneback start monthly Sunday WoW brunches at The Westin Wuchang in order to include families and partners. They endeavor to increase monthly WoW activities from one to 3 or 4, with the balance being 50% fundraising, 50% social. The annual fund-raising “WoW Craft Fair” is held at The Westin Wuchang. A monthly “Coffee Chat” is initiated by Gosia Lalanne. The third WoW Dinner Dance is held at Marco Polo with 143 pax. Wanda Heron leaves Wuhan.
2013 –“Family Circle” activities group are arranged between WoW and local Chinese mothers. Fund-raising “International Charity Fun Fair” is held at French Street at Golden Harbour, Hanyang. With the rapid growth of WoW (email list now over 250 pax), first AGM (All Gals Meeting) is arranged and WoW structures to outline roles of volunteers. Panida Grinneback leaves. New organisers step forward – Celine Lorenz and Silja Zhang.
2014 – April 2014 Flora Kan brought forward the idea of Spring Walk. The walk was very successful and it became WoW signature event and it is held annually in April. The WoW Spring Walk brought expat families and Chinese friends together as they walk along the beautiful Yangtze River park. The spring also brought changes in a leadership, Celine Lorenz moved out of Wuhan and Gosia Lalanne became a president of WoW. Kai Rohrer introduced lunch date and she carried on until January 2015, when she left Wuhan. In May WoW members were invited to meet recipients from the Education Fund, many of the recipients came making it a great cultural exchange day. The Second WoW signature event, Annual Dinner Gala was held in December at the Westin Hotel celebrating 10th anniversary of WoW. Elisabetta Depedri Joined the committee helping with a lot in WoW organisational matters.
2015 – Only In its 2nd year, the “WoW Spring Walk” was even greater than the previous year, bringing about 80 people in order to support the Education Fund. Maristela Fromont took over Afternoon Tea arrangements and she introduced different activities which excited many and made Afternoon Tea very popular. In June the main architect of “Flower Building” Wouter Loomans invited WoW members to a guided visit to this outstanding energy institute. December Dinner Gala was held at Wanda Reign Hotel. About 230 guests graced the event in support of WoW fundraising initiative.
2016 – This was the year of the biggest committee change, Ila Tsang who was IT support since 2013, left Wuhan in March. Then Kiki Nishiumi, Maritstella and Elisabetta Depedri moved out in next months. Despite terrible weather conditions that April, the Annual Spring Walk was held. Meet recipient day in September was organised at badminton court giving an opportunity to play together. Dinner Gala was held at the Shangrila Hotel. The fundraising beat all records.