Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The simple things

I have some great photos to share from northern Vietnam: Lao Cai province, quite near the border with China.

A few weeks ago, a school in rural Lao Cai contacted Blue Dragon asking for help. They are a primary school in a remote area, and they explained that their students don't have enough warm clothes for the winter - which can be very severe in those parts.

With no heating in the school, and some of the classes held in timber shacks, the school knew that kids would start dropping out because of the cold. So they asked if we could help with some warm clothes and shoes for the kids.

We were hugely fortunate that the Hanoi International Women's Club was able to fund the purchases, and last week some of the Blue Dragon team traveled up to make sure all the kids received their winter gear. The excitement on the faces of the kids tells you everything.


The kids now have their shoes and jackets, and they've had the added bonus of seeing some visitors to their school... which is quite a rare thing in those parts.

It was nice to be able to bring some joy to the kids!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Make it pink

When Blue Dragon rescues kids out of factories, or girls and young women out of brothels, we get a lot of praise from the public on our Facebook page and through emails. And it's all appreciated very, very much.

Of course, there's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that never gets any attention. Even right now, we are working on a plan to conduct a rescue of dozens of kids in coming months; the preparation is long and often tedious. It's all about gathering information, verifying evidence, piecing together clues, and so on.

Another important part of rescue trips is the fundraising. To be frank, no money = no rescues.

So Blue Dragon is hugely, incredibly fortunate to have friends and supporters here in Vietnam as well as around the world who chip in with amounts small and large, providing the funds needed to change lives.

One such 'behind the scenes' supporter - or rather, team of supporters - is Rally Indochina. This is an annual motorbike ride through Vietnam (every April) which raises funds that are then used over the coming year to rescue kids, build houses, and run community projects in areas being targeted by traffickers.

It's professionally run, using Ural motorbikes and traveling through some remote and untouched parts of Vietnam. Anyone familiar with a motorbike should look in to joining: it's superbly organised and the scenery along the way is stunning.

The amazing guys behind the rally are 3 Aussies: Glenn, Digby and Mark. When they're not running the rally, they have their own motorbike companies: Explore Indochina and Hoi An Motorbike Adventures.

Now, the guys are so keen to raise money to stop child trafficking that one of them, Mark, has come up with an offer:

For every $250 raised on his Go Fundraise page, Mark will wear a pink ao dai for one day of the rally.

Just to be clear, this is what a pink ao dai looks like: 

Meantime, this is what Mark Wyndham looks like:

Wouldn't he look so much better in a pink ao dai?

I say this is one cause we should all get behind. Let's help Mark raise the money he needs to spend 14 days rising through Vietnam in a pink ao dai. Let's do it for the kids.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


Blue Dragon's Outreach Team in Hanoi has a difficult and often dangerous job. Their work is to look for, befriend, and protect homeless children around the city. 

Adding to the complexity of this job is that Hanoi's street kids have learned to hide themselves away; they are often invisible to much of the city, in order to prevent being caught.   

The photos below were taken on Wednesday night and Thursday morning by staff meeting with a group of homeless children at one of Hanoi's bridges. Tonight the kids will have a safe and warm place to stay, and 2 are in hospital now, but the images below capture the place they have been calling home in recent weeks.

Apart from being cold (and Hanoi has been pretty cold and wet this week) and dirty, the boys have been camped out on a ledge high up off the ground. This is where they have been sleeping; it's an extremely dangerous spot.

Two years ago, Blue Dragon appealed to our supporters around the world for donations to grow and develop an Outreach program for street kids. The children below are safe tonight thanks to our friends who helped with that campaign!