Last week I shared some insight into Blue Dragon’s strategy: the whole stream approach.
We start with children on the streets and in slavery, and work right through to law and policy reform. Instead of separating out “upstream” and “downstream” interventions, we see them as fundamentally connected.
Pioneering this integrated model of charity and development did not come about through a flash of insight or the result of careful research. It’s simply a human response to the needs of people we meet every day.
Here’s what I mean:
In the past week, Blue Dragon has rescued two young women from slavery as forced brides in China.
We’ve received 41 women who were set free by Chinese police and returned to Vietnam, in need of urgent care and practical assistance.
We’ve met 6 homeless children on the streets of Hanoi, and brought each one to a place of safety.
Our street outreach staff – including a young man who is himself a former street kid – stood guard over a 20 year old woman having a psychological breakdown on the streets late at night as a man tried to take advantage of her vulnerability to rape her.
And we brought two boys to hospital. One is a 13 year old street kid from the far south of Vietnam. He’s been at our Hanoi centre since last year, and is now in an emergency ward experiencing undiagnosed bone and heart pain. The other is a former street kid, now in his early 20s, evidently having a relapse of tuberculosis. Despite coughing up blood on the floor of the hospital, the doctors would not admit him until Blue Dragon social workers turned up to demand it.
Caring for people is a messy business. There’s no manual to apply to every situation, only principles and values to guide decision making.
No two crises are the same. What it takes to get one child to safety might not be enough to keep another safe from harm.
But for all the complexity and uncertainty of this work, the reward is massive: a life saved. A childhood transformed. A family reunited.
We don’t know what tomorrow will demand of us. But we stand ready to do whatever it will take to keep children and young people safe.
Blue Dragon is helping children, families and communities rebuild their lives in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Please consider making a donation to this life-saving work.