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Category: Hope

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…

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The Rush

Early last week I found myself in a meeting at Blue Dragon where a 17 year old girl, Ha, was being reunited with her family. Ha had been trafficked from Vietnam into China 5 months ago and sold as a bride. She was a Grade 11 student and her family loves her deeply; her parents were overcome with emotion to be back together again. A H’mong family, Ha’s mother was wearing traditional dress and before leaving our centre Ha also changed back into her customary clothing for the first time since she…

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A long time

Late last week, Blue Dragon brought home a woman, “Binh,” who was trafficked from Vietnam to China 26 years ago. The idea that someone could be enslaved for so long seems to defy understanding. We don’t yet know her full story, but we do know that when she was sold into a forced marriage at the start of the 1990s she already had a family here in Vietnam. Now in her 60s, Binh has spent almost half her life isolated from her own children, never knowing where they were or…

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Back

Thanh had a quiet life. Aged 27, she worked in a Hanoi clothes shop. She had good friends, a decent salary, and every reason to think she would soon be married and starting her own family. Until just over a month ago. One of her friends in the shop came to her secretly with a great idea. Why did they have to work for someone else? Why not put their minds together and open their own shop, using the contacts they had made and the business knowledge they had picked…

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Representation

Sometimes I find it hard to explain what Blue Dragon does. We started out, back in 2003, as a group of friends in Hanoi running English classes for street kids. Soon after we took the classes to a football field, where our long-running soccer team began. (Just last summer we played our 2000th game). Then we opened a shelter; then a drop-in centre. Then we found ourselves in a position to help a child who had been trafficked and sold, and so we started what would be the first of…

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To save a life

As the Blue Dragon kids grow up, some stay in close contact with us while others drift in and out. Social networks, both online and offline (aka ‘real life’!) keep us informed of what’s happening with the young people we know, even if we don’t always hear from them directly. So when Thien dropped off our radar a few months ago, I suspected something was wrong. Thien is in his 20s now, but first came to Blue Dragon aged 14. He was living in the community with some uncles who…

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A purposeful life

Vietnam is on holiday now, and the last week at Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation before the Tet (Lunar New Year) break was a difficult one for staff and kids alike. The sudden death of one of our boys, Tu, shocked us all and we are still grieving the loss of someone we cared for so deeply. At Blue Dragon, we don’t have ‘beneficiaries’ or ‘clients’; we have family, and Tu was a much-loved brother. His loss and the experience of coming together to say goodbye brings in to focus the…

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Believe

Early on Wednesday morning, January 18 2017, Nguyen Tong Tu lost his life in a motorbike accident on the cold dark streets of Hanoi. Tu was 15 years old. His life was scarred by accident, family breakdown, and angst. But here at Blue Dragon, he was known as a wonderful boy with an angelic face that lit up with joy when he was loved. Tu was only with us a short time; he first came to Blue Dragon in May through our Outreach team, who met him on the streets…

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Night of heroes

So I failed to write my blog last week. I had every intention of waking up early on Monday and writing about events of the previous week. Instead I was awoken by a call from a Blue Dragon lawyer some time around 5. The police had arrested a Vietnamese man suspected of abusing underage boys: to our knowledge, this is the first time that such an arrest has been made without our direct involvement. That’s a fantastic development in itself. The man – who has yet to be charged, so…

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Countdown

New Years Eve is party time around the world. Even the edict against fireworks in Vietnam didn’t dampen anybody’s enthusiasm; live music and street parties filled the cities and towns until the midnight countdown began. For 2 young Vietnamese women, another countdown was taking place last night. After a year enslaved in central China, An (aged 16) and Cuc (22) were recently able to contact their families in southern Vietnam. Each had fallen victim to a human trafficking ring which offers desperately poor families the promise of employment, but instead…

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