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Category: Hope

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…

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…

Coffee

Early on Saturday morning, my phone buzzed to life with a message from Ly. Having been on the road for the past month (hence my severe lack of blog posts!) I spent much of the past week catching up with the team at Blue Dragon as well as the kids at our centre. Ly, however, was not someone I had expected to see. For the past 2 years Ly has been working in Ho Chi Minh City as a barista. He’s 26 years old now, but I have known him…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…