Against the odds and the doubters

As a teenage girl, Yen was determined to overcome hardship and get an education. But how could she believe in herself when nobody around her did?

Many people know Blue Dragon for our rescue operations.

In the past year, we’ve rescued over 300 people from slavery. Most were trafficked from Vietnam to neighboring countries and forced to work under threat of violence in guarded compounds. Their stories are haunting.

Every person rescued has a chance to start their life over.

But from day to day, there’s another part of our work that’s equally as important and impactful.

The dream chasers

As an organisation, we don’t want people to “just” be safe. We want every child to have the opportunity to make of their life whatever they choose.

Much of our work involves seeking out young people in hardship or danger, and helping them pursue their dreams. This typically involves a long journey to explore what their dreams are.

Because this year is Blue Dragon’s 20th birthday, we’ve been compiling stories of some of the young people we’ve encountered along the way and writing about where they are now.

Yen’s story is a particularly inspiring one.

Yen on a hike in Finland.

A girl on a journey

She was in her early teens when I first met her: a smart, kind girl who took hold of every opportunity to learn.

Like all of the kids we meet at Blue Dragon, Yen had grown up in hardship; she was still in school but it was a struggle. Without a helping hand, she faced a very real risk of dropping out.

More than the lack of money and opportunity was the message she heard from so many around her: Your life will never be better than your parents’ life.

How could she believe in herself when nobody else did?

Today, Yen’s life couldn’t be more different. She lives in Finland, where she works as a civil engineer while raising a family. Nobody could doubt her now.

Against the odds and despite the doubters, Yen found a way to turn her life around. Completing her education was key, but equally important was having people who believed in her.

Yen’s story is shared in full over on the Blue Dragon website. Her journey to a satisfying, successful life was harder than it should have been. And although she got there with help from Blue Dragon and others around her, all of the credit for what she has achieved is hers alone.

Blue Dragon will continue to rescue those who call for help; and we’ll also continue to give kids like Yen the chance to live the great lives they deserve.

Blue Dragon is celebrating 20 years of transforming lives in Vietnam. Read more stories of the lives we’ve changed here.

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