Have you ever been traveling and seen a child begging or selling stuff on the street? I’m sure you wished you could help but probably didn’t know what you could do. When I arrived in Vietnam it was a far too common sight to see children who belonged in primary school working and sleeping on the streets.
I had kids as young as five years old come up to me and try and sell me guidebooks or candy. I saw a five year old carrying their one year old brother on their back, walking alone on the street in barefeet. I saw kids sleeping on the street next to dumpsters. It was heart breaking.
In a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and have little understanding of the culture and politics it is easy to feel hopeless when it comes to helping people out on the street. That is how I felt when I arrived in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. I knew I wasn’t the only person feeling this way and assumed that someone must be doing something for these children.
I didn’t search far before I found the people who are doing the amazing, inspiring, and necessary work to help these kids out.
Blue Dragon's purpose is to provide exceptional care to Vietnamese children and families in crisis while creating long-term change for a better world.
Blue Dragon kids are street kids, children with disabilities, children from rural families living in extreme poverty, and victims of human trafficking and slavery. Yes, it may be hard to believe but child slavery is still very much an issue in many parts of the world.
Blue Dragon rescues kids from danger, reunite them with their families when possible, and provide all the services needed for recovery and growth.
They never give up on any child, even the most complex cases.
I’m especially stoked on the way they approach their work. Take a look at their values.
Respect, not pity
The children we work with are treated with at least the same respect that we would treat our own sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.
Development, not charity
We work to help children develop fully as they grow, through providing a broad range of experiences and opportunities. Rather than simply provide a handout, we provide a hand-up for those who choose to better their circumstances and themselves.
Empowerment, not dependency
Our role is to provide opportunities for children to pursue as individuals rather than to force our views or values on the children.
Collaboration, not control
Our staff work alongside the children and their families, so that the beneficiaries are involved in all stages of our work, rather than simply being recipients of charity.
Massive interventions, not quick-fix solutions.
We tackle the problem of poverty from every angle rather than focusing on one obvious cause or effect. Our interventions may take years, as we persist until we are successful.
To date Blue Dragon has done some impressive work:
Rescued 752 people from trafficking
Represented 62 people in court cases
Sent 4,815 kids back to school & training
Provided shelter to 541 girls & boys
Placed 254 teens in jobs
Served 481,220 meals
Built 91 homes for families
Reunited 480 runaways with their families
Obtained legal papers for 11,617 people
Played 2,374 games of soccer!
From the founder - “All children have the right to be children, to be safe, to attend school, to play, to be treated with respect, to be heard, to be understood and to be loved.”
I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for your work.
If you’re inspired and grateful like I am, please donate to Blue Dragon and help more kids!
Blue Dragon is a registered charity in Australia, the USA, the UK, and New Zealand.