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Month: October 2016


Emergency wards in hospitals are always terrible places to be. Nobody goes there when things are going well. Over the past 14 years of leading Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, I’ve had more occasions than I can recall to visit emergency wards here in Hanoi. The kids we work with tend to get into a fair bit of trouble – that’s why we work with them! – and so it’s not uncommon to get a call that someone has had a motorbike accident, or a skateboarding accident, or has suffered a…

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Last week I wrote about Canh, a teenage boy who has been living in an internet cafe and on the streets of Hanoi for the past year. He has been unable to return home, and wanting to join Blue Dragon but afraid he could not fit in. Instead, he’s been waiting for us to open a new safe house for kids in crisis; and on Friday we finally took the keys to the new building we’ve rented. Blue Dragon staff were there first thing in the morning, scrubbing the house…

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The best time of your life

Every other day, I get a text message from a boy named Canh. He’s 16 years old, but looks not a day over 12. He is tiny, and along with it he has a child-like laugh and air of innocence. Despite appearances, life has been hard on Canh. He lives in a dank internet cafe – Hanoi is littered with¬†them – and spends his days staring at a screen, chain smoking. I don’t know how he makes money, but his closest friend is a teenage boy just slightly older than…

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Exceptional care

When my phone buzzes late at night, my first impulse¬†is to wonder what’s wrong. Among the various roles that Blue Dragon plays in Vietnam, we are first and foremost a care provider to children with very special needs. It would be a rare week that went by without some emergency popping up, whether it’s one of our kids getting into trouble with the law, or a plea for help from a family whose child has gone missing. A late night call this week was to inform me that one of…

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