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Month: August 2016

Home time

There’s just a little sadness at the Blue Dragon centre today. For the past 10 weeks, we’ve had the joy of a little girl named Chau toddling through our building. She took her first steps with us; she ate her first solids here in our office. I mentioned Chau on my blog a couple of weeks ago; and today she and her mother have returned to their village to be reunited with their extended family. Chau was 12 months old when her mother, a 19 year old woman named Hien, called us…

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It was raining when I landed back in Vietnam, and the storms have kept sweeping through for the past 10 days. Here in Hanoi, when it rains it either pours down in incredible, flooding bursts; or it drizzles for days and weeks on end. Since I returned, it’s been downpours. Having been away for a few weeks I was excited to be coming home. But the downpours that have followed have been difficult. In the past 10 days, three good friends of Blue Dragon have passed away, each in different countries…

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We were in a cafe. There had been some conflict; I had done something to bother one of the local gangs and they demanded a meeting to talk. Minh was there, even though he had nothing to do with this. I don’t know why they brought him, but they may have been trying to demoralise me. Minh was a lovely kid. Quiet, peaceful, intelligent. He had just one fault: he hated himself. Absolutely, totally, despised his own being. I’ve never met anyone with a lower sense of self worth than Minh, who…

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Binh was trafficked when he was just 14. His mother, raising 2 sons alone since the death of their father, thought that Binh was going to learn a trade. Living in extreme poverty, she couldn’t afford to pay school fees for Binh or his little brother Hien. When some traffickers came along, posing as intermediaries for a training program in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh’s mother believed she’d finally had a lucky break. Instead, Binh was sold to a garment factory. He became a slave, working on an industrial sewing machine up to 18 hours a…

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Thanh was 16 when she was sold. She was a good student at school, and loved her family deeply. Growing up in a small city in northern Vietnam, with parents who cared for her, Thanh never imagined that anything like this could happen to her. If you made a list of all the typical vulnerabilities that can increase the risk of being trafficked, she would match almost none of them. Except, of course, that she is a girl in a world that objectifies and commodifies women. It was a friend…

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