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Tears of joy

May 2015
Blue Dragon has so far rescued 438 Vietnamese children and young
people from brothels, forced marriages and sweatshops.
Every rescue operation is tense; many are dangerous and some can
take days or even weeks to implement. But all rescues conclude with a
powerful and moving reunion, which is the part we love. The moment
when a trafficked child sees their family again for the first time in years
is always emotional. Hugs, tears and cries of joy are shared amongst
loved ones who feared they may never see each other again.
At times we have rescued young mothers who were sold as brides into
China. When they are reunited with their children after many months
held in slavery, its impossible to keep a dry eye.

A mothers love gave this young woman the

determination to get home to her son

These are the moments that tell us how important it is for the Blue
Dragon Rescue Team to respond to the many calls for help we receive.
Slavery is unacceptable in our times. With your continued support, we
will keep on bringing home the kids and young adults who have been
lured away and sold.

Changing a life for life

Most of us never think about our legal
identity until we lose our wallet or purse!
We all know the headache of reapplying for
drivers licences, credit cards and passports.
Suddenly, our identity documents become
very important.
Imagine living with no documents at all,
and no way of obtaining them. Without
these cards and papers you cant drive,
rent a house, travel to another country,
or get a job.
Throughout Vietnam, tens of thousands of people face this problem every day because
they have no legal identity. Born into poverty, they cannot afford a birth certificate,
and so grow up unable to attend school or visit a hospital and with no legal rights or
protection whatsoever.
To date, Blue Dragon has assisted over 5,000 citizens to be registered and receive their
legal identities. Like 16 year old Trang who recently received her papers for the first time.
What may seem like an insignificant piece of paper has changed her life. Now she can
graduate from high school, seek employment and one day marry. If Trang did not have her
legal papers, in the future her children could not be registered and the cycle of poverty and
disadvantage would continue.

Good news
for USA
Blue Dragon USA
has 501(c)3 status.
This means that your
donations to Blue
Dragons Annual
Appeal will be tax
Check our website later
in May for details of our
Annual Appeal.

Registering children and families to receive their legal identity is a powerful way to assist
vulnerable young people in Vietnam.

Whats new at Blue?

May 2015
Page 2

Changing the law

Blue Dragon is once again at the forefront
of social change, this time in the area of
law reform. In April, we partnered with
the Police Academy to host a groundbreaking workshop on the sexual abuse
of boys This is an issue that can no longer
be hidden. Blue Dragons Outreach
Team regularly meets new street kids
who have been sexually abused or
approached by pedophiles offering small
amounts of money in return for sex.
The police are severely hampered by a law which offers no protection to boys.
Under current law, the sexual abuse of boys is not a criminal offense and is
therefore unable to be prosecuted.

Hot off the press!

The good news is that there is a growing momentum to revise the law so
that the abuse of both girls and boys is considered a criminal offense and a
more protective environment is provided for children who have been sexually
abused. The workshop brought together police, lawmakers, academics and
government officials. Well continue to work with key agencies to ensure this
issue is kept in the public spotlight, as well as keeping up our presence on the
streets so we reach children before those who wish to do them harm. Everyone
agrees that the law needs to change; we hope it is now just a matter of when.

Our Rescue Team has recently compiled its 10

years of anti-trafficking knowledge into a manual
for Vietnamese agencies fighting human
trafficking. You can download the manual free
from the Blue Dragon website. It has practical
information on how to prevent children from
being trafficked into exploitative labour; how to
find and rescue young people who have been
trafficked; and how to prosecute their traffickers.

Visitor highlights

School visits

Bao Hoang, Founder of Rolld, a

Vietnamese street food chain in
Australia, visited Michael Brosowski,
Blue Dragons Founder, at Dragon
House last month. Baos visit marked
the beginning of a great partnership
between Rolld and Blue Dragon. Rolld
recently hosted the 150 for 150 event
to raise funds to build a boarding house
for children in northern Vietnam.
Paul Grossman from Helping Humanity
Fund brought gifts of stationery, toys
and toiletries for Blue Dragon children in
Hanoi. The kids were thrilled with their
gifts and couldnt wait to use their new
notebooks and pens.
The Passion Foundation is a unique charity
created to improve the lives of girls and young
women. They visited Blue Dragon in April to
deliver leadership training to 18 girls from rural
Vietnamwho were delighted at the opportunity to
increase their confidence. They are now creating
plans to help them realise their full potential.

Year 11 students from Hanoi International

School spent a week in a remote village in
northern Vietnam building a playground, digging
garden beds and delivering a hygiene program.
Students from Mercy College, from New
South Wales in Australia enjoyed afternoon
tea with the children, helped to decorate
the Drop-In Centre for Tet New Year and
challenged some of the Blue Dragon kids to
a game of 10-pin bowling!

Getting Results
New home, new opportunities

May 2015
Page 3

Luong* is one of 185 kids who have benefited from a new home built with the help of Blue Dragon
supporters. Safe shelter is a basic need, but sadly it is something many children in Vietnam lack.
Luong is in her final year at university majoring in International Trade. She is a confident and optimistic
young woman, and has come a long way from the child we met in 2004. I was a child without hope
and being sponsored by Blue Dragon changed my life. I was so excited each year to be able to go to
school with new stationery, says Luong.
In 2005, the derelict house she was living in all but blew away in a storm. Blue Dragon was there to
help, and several months later Luong and her mother were able to move into their own home. Having
somewhere safe to study gave Luong the impetus needed to study and win a place at university.
Blue Dragon is committed to changing the lives of children like Luong. We work with the children
and their families long term to ensure that every Blue Dragon kid has the opportunity to reach his
or her potential.

Life after school

Like many Year 12 students around the world, Lan* has been thinking a lot lately
about the future and life after school. Thanks to Blue Dragon supporters, Lan is three
times more likely to undertake tertiary studies than a child from a similar background.
There are currently 69 students in our Tertiary Scholarship Program studying a wide
range of subjects including engineering, psychology, business, IT and tourism.
Lan and the other Year 12 kids made the most of a workshop hosted by Blue
Dragons social workers and tertiary students to help them prepare for their High
School Graduation and tertiary entrance exams. They learnt how to choose the right
course, successful study methods and preparation tips for their exams.
The students are feeling more confident now they understand the process and had their
questions and concerns addressed. We are very happy to see how motivated and prepared
they are and look forward to seeing where their dreams and hard work will take them.
To sponsor a childs education please contact Le at

The rewards of volunteering

Blue Dragon could not deliver its services and activities to children in crisis
without the enthusiastic support of our team of long-term volunteers.
When Luke joined Blue Dragon in 2011, his work as a DJ and event organiser
was mostly at night, so he had plenty of free time during the day. Hed heard
about Blue Dragon from a friend and decided to volunteer. Initially he taught
English to Blue Dragons social workers, but a chance conversation revealed
his unusual specialty and Blue Dragons DJ school was born.
When Luke went travelling for a few months he donated his equipment
to Blue Dragon so that Bao, his most enthusiastic student, could practice.
When I got back, he was amazing. He had practiced every day, says Luke,
who then helped Bao get gigs in clubs in Hanoi.
Luke is now teaching a new group of kids how to DJ. Is there another Bao in the
making? Luke says very likely, because now they have two teachers: Luke and Bao.
*Not their real names

More than 250 trivia buffs joined former
Sydney Morning Herald columnist Bruce Elder
for Blue Dragons annual Quiz for a Cause
in Sydney. Over $30,000 was raised to help
provide shelter for street kids. The winning
team Gilbert and Whats His Name took
out the title for the 2nd year.
Sandie works for an orthopedic surgeon
in Hobart and regularly turns the reception
room into a pop-up scarf shop. She buys
the scarves in Vietnam to sell to friends,
colleagues and patients for Blue Dragon. To
date Sandies scarf sales have bought bikes
for over 30 kids.
Renowned Opera Singer Marie-Claire,
OAM, Ch.Lgion dHonneur, Ch.A.L. hosted
a concert in aid of Blue Dragon at her
beautiful Sydney home on Easter Monday.
The event raised almost $4,500 for children
in crisis and included a performance by
Ensemble Spiritoso and an afternoon tea of
Marie-Clairess home-baked French cakes.
Have you ever wanted to do a marathon, but
dont run? A group of Melbourne supporters
walked the 42km of a marathon through the
beautiful Victorian country side in Australia for
Blue Dragon. Their Marathon Dragon March
raised over $20,000 to provide street kids
with safe shelter and may become an annual
event. We are so proud of their achievement!

Get involved!
Do you want to join in the work of Blue Dragon? Heres how:
Melbourne, Australia: Join the Melbourne Supporters Group.
Sydney, Australia: Become a member of Blue Dragon
International. Contact
New Zealand: Visit the website of Blue Dragon NZ. Meet Michael
at the Blue Dragon Charity Fight Night in Auckland on 28 May.
USA: Contact
Look out for Blue Dragon UK, coming your way soon!

May 2015
Page 4

Staff Profile:
Nguyen Thu Phuong (Phuong)
Disability Services Coordinator since 2009

What is your role at Blue Dragon?

I support 44 kids with disabilities and their families,

especially with getting a proper diagnosis, treatment
and access to education.

Whats the best part of your job?

I really enjoy seeing the change in both the kids
and their parents. The kids become more confident
and happier, and the parents are better able to
support their children.
Why does Blue Dragon work with parents?
Many of the parents have limited education, so I focus
on improving their parenting skills. This changes the
way they see their children and makes them better
able to support them. Parents soon realise that if they
give their children more time, they will improve.
Whats the most important skill for your job?
You need a lot of patience. There are no quick fixes
when working with kids with disabilities. Small
changes can often take a long time, so you have
to be prepared to provide both the child and the
parents with long-term support.
What are the challenges?
The children in the program have a wide range of
disabilities, so this can be a challenge. It would be
easier if we only worked with one particular disability,
but at Blue Dragon we work with the kids that
need help. Its also one of the best things about the
program, as the kids love to help each other, whether
its learning sign language to communicate with a
deaf friend or giving another a helping hand.

Blue Dragon Childrens Foundation is an Australian grassroots organisation.

We rely on support from donors, sponsors and fundraisers around the world to continue our work with disadvantaged youth in Vietnam.