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Category: Charity

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…

What if?

During the week I visited British International School in Hanoi, and was talking to their Grade 8 class about charity, charities, and the idea that we all have a role to play in caring for our world. It’s always the Question Time that I most enjoy, because there’s nothing so insightful as the question of a child. And this class didn’t let me down. One of the girls asked me something quite profound: What if I hadn’t started Blue Dragon? Where would I be? And what about all the kids we’ve…

A long walk

On Sunday, I took part in a marathon walk. Forty-two kilometers along the Merri Creek in Melbourne, Australia, to raise money for the work of Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. About 30 people took part, and although many of us had never met before we were united by our concern for the fate of Vietnamese children. We all had sponsors, and so we set out in the morning to accomplish a goal that’s small on a global scale, but significant for our own lives. As we were walking, 4 teenage boys…

Humanity in development

I’ve given more than a few speeches in my lifetime. I truly enjoy the challenge of gauging an audience and adapting my message to meet their needs and interests; many times I have been standing on the stage before I have made a final decision about what I will say. So far this has always worked for me, but last week I thought that maybe I had pushed it too far. I had been invited to speak to 900 university students from around the world at the UN Centre in…

Ten

Nam’s life has been pretty rough by anybody’s standard – and he’s only 10 years old. Blue Dragon first came across Nam a couple of years ago. He had been hanging out on the street with his mother, who sold drugs around one of Hanoi’s lakes, and most of the time he was completely unsupervised and uncared for. The very first time we noticed Nam, his mother was beating him for some perceived crime, and our social workers helped to calm things down. Nam had never learnt any good habits or…

A difficult journey

It’s easy to think of working in charity as a glorious and noble mission. Sometimes it is: there are plenty of days I go home beaming, knowing that we’ve achieved something great and changed a life. And sometimes it’s grimy and dangerous and frustrating. There are plenty of days that end with nothing but a question mark about what will come next. This article, written by one of the most meticulous investigative journalists I have come across, was published just last weekend. It explores a case that Blue Dragon faced…

Appealing

It’s that time of year again when Blue Dragon is in need of help. Anyone who follows my blog, or keeps up with the Blue Dragon Facebook page, knows of our work. We rescue kids in crisis. Since the start of 2017 alone, we’ve already rescued 64 victims of human trafficking from brothels, forced marriages, and sweatshops. That’s in addition to the homeless children we’ve reunited with their parents, the classes and shelters we run, and all the court cases we’ve been in to represent the victims of crimes. Altogether…

Listen to this

I’ve been on the road for the past couple of weeks, visiting friends of Blue Dragon in Singapore and Perth. I find these trips exhausting while also enriching. There’s a real joy in meeting with people around the world who care about the children of Vietnam and want to be part of our effort to make the world better for them. And there’s even more joy in returning to Vietnam and going back to Dragon House, our HQ and children’s centre. Having been away just for 2 weeks, it seems…

Success

Ngan has been with Blue Dragon since she was in primary school. Through our sponsorship program, she received help with her study fees and school gear right through to the end of high school. Being an intelligent and ambitious young woman, Ngan then wanted to enroll in an engineering degree, so a scholarship through Blue Dragon’s Tertiary Students program meant she could keep on studying. Ngan wasn’t due to finish her studies until mid 2017, but she’s done so well that she was able to accelerate through some classes and…