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Author: Michael Brosowski

500 to 1

If you’ve seen the latest newsletter, then you’ll have heard the news that we’ve just passed another milestone. Blue Dragon has successfully reunited 500 street children with their families. Meeting homeless children and offering care and protection is where Blue Dragon started, even though we are now better known for our rescues of people from slavery. Every city in the world has children who live or work on the streets. Hanoi is no exception. What’s noticeable here is the lack of services for them; every now and then there are…

Street life

Here’s something I’d love to share – a film made by some high school students as part of their final year studies. The students from the United Nations International School created this as an assignment, deciding to create a story looking into the life of street children in Vietnam. It’s a fictional take on the life of one child, and captures the essence of what it’s like to be homeless in Hanoi. Treat yourself to 7 minutes of a very touching film made by some wonderfully talented young people.  …

Finding passion

When Tan was 13, he ran away from his home on a small farm in northern Vietnam. I met him in Hanoi a few weeks later. He had been surviving on the streets with help from some older boys who stole and pimped for a living. Fortunately, Tan hadn’t become entangled in anything too bad by the time Blue Dragon’s outreach workers met him and offered him a place to stay.  Tan was a shy and nervous little boy. I never understood how he had found the courage to leave…

Beyond the day

Today marks the World Day Against Human Trafficking. There’s a designated day for just about everything: mixed in with International Women’s Day and the World Day Against Child Labor are World Donut Day and International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Something about the various ceremonial days doesn’t sit quite right with me. I fear that straight after Earth Hour or the World Day of Social Justice we just slip back into our normal routine. The events and workshops and social media splashes make us feel good, but has anything changed?…

Not everybody makes it

I’m embarrassed to have missed blogging for the last two weeks. I’ve tried to keep a good routine but sometimes life gets out of hand. Mea culpa! One of the joys of blogging is sharing stories of the wonderful children and young people I meet and work with. There are so many happy stories to tell. Even though most stories start with suffering or crisis, most do end with a real hope for the future. But not all. Since we rescued  our very first trafficked child back in 2005, I’ve…

Plus One

Two weeks ago, I told the story of 17 year old Thoan, the Hero of Zero. He’s a wonderful kid who has faced so many challenges in life that eventually he simply gave up. After running away from home, Thoan spent his days playing computer games in one of Hanoi’s countless internet cafes, and his nights selling sex just so he could survive the next day. Even after learning he was infected with HIV, Thoan continued hooking up with men who would abuse him for as little as $1.50 for…

Where it begins

A group of teens gathers every Sunday at Dragon House to spend the day in intense learning. We call them our Junior Social Workers. The girls and boys have signed up to a 10 week basic course in what it means to be a Social Worker. Some may well become Social Workers one day; most will not. Their driving desire is a passion to learn how to care for others. This Sunday I was invited to go along and share my own experiences with the group. I’m not a Social…

The Hero of Zero

The social workers at Blue Dragon have some very polite expressions to deal with the daily horrors they encounter. Chief among them: “Complicated.” When I hear a social worker saying that a family is “complicated,” I understand the meaning to be: “You’ve never seen a horror movie like you’re about to see.” Thoan is from a “complicated” family. This doesn’t mean his parents don’t love him, but it does mean he has endured neglect and abuse at home, and he carries the burden of guilt for whatever terrible things have…

Now I’m appealing

It’s the time of the year when Blue Dragon is asking for money. The annual Rescue Appeal. That doesn’t make a very compelling opening line to my blog, does it? Shouldn’t I open with a powerful story – maybe something to make you all emotional and feel  inspired to donate? There are plenty of stories to tell. Scroll back through the blog, visit the Blue Dragon website, or even go look at my earlier blog. But now is the time that I need to ask. I created Blue Dragon in 2003 because there…

Midnight

I’m a terrible dinner guest. Invite me to your house, sit with me around a table, and ask me how my day was. I will tell stories that turn you off your meal. I will talk about the young mother who was tricked into following a trafficker into China, then tortured and raped until she complied with their demand that she “marry” a stranger. I will tell the story of the 2 boys who were living with Blue Dragon but then enticed away to join a criminal gang, which lends…