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An update on the work of Blue Dragon Childrens Foundation Vietnam - December 2010

Something to be proud of !
Khuong, aged 16, has been living in the Blue Dragon shelter for just a few months. We first came across him living on the streets of Hanoi back in August and could see that he really needed a helping hand. With our support, Khuong has been attending Grade 7 and is hoping to soon be reunited with his family in the countryside. When the Blue Dragon staff decided to use photography as part of this years Christmas Appeal, Khuong eagerly signed up to learn basic camera skills, and then took to the streets to capture images that he believes are quintessentially Vietnamese. Despite having very little experience with a camera, Khuong snapped an image that is arguably one of our best Calligrapher. His image stands its ground against the images donated to our campaign by some accomplished photographers from Vietnam and Singapore. Well done, Khuong you can be proud of your effort! Calligrapher (Ha Van Khuong)

Blue Dragons Christmas Appeal!

Khuongs now-famous photo, Calligrapher, and 12 other images can be seen on our website. This year Blue Dragon is trying something different for its Christmas Appeal. Blue Dragon kids and volunteer professional photographers have taken some stunning images of Vietnam. For any amount you donate, you will receive a high quality print of the image of your choice, either in a 12cm by 15cm size slotted into a Christmas card, or in a 20cm x 30cm framable display size for larger donations. New photos have been uploaded this week, so even if you have seen the campaign page before it is worth a second look now!

Did you know?

Most children stay in Blue Dragons programs for 4-6 years. Some kids stay longer, depending on how much time they need to complete their education. Participants in our programs range from first grade students, to university students, to young adults beginning employment. Even after they have formally left our programs, we continue to look out for the young people weve worked with and support them any time they need it.

An example of one of our photos in Christmas card format (above)

Click the link (right) to see the selection of images available!

An update on the work of Blue Dragon Childrens Foundation Vietnam - December 2010

Getting the VIP treatment

Hung and Viet are two teenage boys who have seen a lot in their short lives. Now aged 17, they were among the first of the trafficked children Blue Dragon helped to escape the streets of Ho Chi Minh City back in 2006. We first met the boys selling flowers in the tourist disctrict, working through the night to meet their targets or else face a beating from the traffickers. Blue Dragon has since broken up some of the trafficking rings which were taking children from Hue, in central Vietnam, to the South, and we have been supporting the kids to live with their families and attend school. In April this year, Hung and Viet travelled together to Hanoi to study at VIP Bikes, a social enterprise which teaches disadvantaged youths to repair Viet in 2006 after the rescue motorbikes in a real life business setting. Blue Dragon created VIP Bikes in 2008, and although it is now an independent organisation, we continue to work closely together to provide training to those who need it most. Hung and Viet have been living in Blue Dragons shelter while undergoing their traineeships for the past 6 months. Every day, theyve been at the workshop in their uniforms, ready to work on all kinds of bikes brought in by customers for maintenance and repairs. The manager of VIP Bikes, Australian mechanic Andrew Souto, has overseen their training and is proud of the progress that theyve made. With their 6 month training program at an end, Viet has decided to return to his countryside to look for work as a mechanic. Hung has decided to stay on at VIP Bikes and learn some more. With the new skills they have learned, Hung and Viet are assured of being able to find employment and work towards independent, happy futures. Above all, they will never have to worry about child traffickers again. Hung and Viet in 2010, hard at work!

Staff profile

Whats your name? To Thi Huong Giang. Whats your job at Blue Dragon? I am the Social Work Coordinator. Whats your typical day at Blue Dragon like? A typical day might start with a meeting to discuss cases and new program activities. I also spend time supporting staff who are dealing with complex situations. Often I am required to meet with children who are high risk cases and deal with emergency situations. Whats the most difficult case you have ever worked on? A boy who used to steal and sell drugs. He was very difficult to work with because he was a member of a gang. However, over time, he came to trust us, moved into our residence and made great changes. Currently he is overseas on a scholarship! What are you working on at the moment? At the moment I am helping children who need extra support and liaising with our lawyer on a legal case. I am also helping organise our annual Tet awards, where we celebrate the achievements and successes of the kids.

Vietnam - December 2010

An update on the work of Blue Dragon Childrens Foundation

Autumn Action Shots!

Christmas comes early! Blue Dragon gives a bike to an excited little girl! Thank you to Sedona Executive Suites for donating 25 bicycles to our kids. Blue Dragon gives out bicycles to many kids, sometimes just for fun and sometimes for more practical purposes, such as getting to school.

Indochina Charity Rally

The IndoChina Rally is an incredible opportunity to see Vietnam from the seat of a beautiful, classically restored, Russian made 650cc Ural motorbike, whilst also raising money for Blue Dragon! Starting next April 13th, the Rally will follow the Ho Chi Minh Trail, taking in such famous sights as Khe Sanh, Hamburger Hill and the DMZ. A full 40% of all Rally fees will be directed through the Intrepid Foundation and distributed to Blue Dragon. The Intrepid Foundation has generously agreed to match, dollar for dollar, the first 12 people to commit to the Rally! These earlybirds will be responsible for creating over US$35,000 worth of donations! If you have a sense of adventure, but also want to give something back, then click on the link below.

The beautiful game begins! Blue Dragon United celebrates the opening of the Hanoi Youth Football League.

Shuffling skills! Expert UNO skills being displayed. UNO is the game of choice for our kids, the penalty for losing a game often involving push-ups!

To see more photos of what has been happening this month, check out our Facebook photo blog! This new, monthly blog allows our friends to see a snapshot of some of the many things that have happened in the last month.

An update on the work of Blue Dragon Childrens Foundation Vietnam - December 2010

In it for the long run

Blue Dragon works with close to 1000 children and youth throughout Vietnam. From day to day, we have many compelling stories to tell of runaways, abandoned children, tragedies and triumphs. But its important that we keep our eye on the big picture: we are here for the long run. The children we meet now may need our help for months or years, not just for one day. Our job is to be here for them no matter what. To provide the long term care that the Blue Dragon kids need, we run residential homes; nutrition and health programs; and make individual plans with both immediate and long term goals. These after care services rarely make for headline-grabbing, exciting stories. But they are a very large part of our day to day work, and critical to our success in working with Vietnams most disadvantaged kids. To help a child in the long term, you can keep a child in school through Blue Dragons sponsorship program. Visit our website or email us at for more information.

Stay informed
Blue Dragon is based entirely in Vietnam; we have no staff or office in any other country. This poses a challenge for us using traditional communication, so we instead rely heavily on the internet to keep our friends and followers around the world informed about the work of our organisation. To stay informed, you can: Join us on Facebook. Log onto the Blue Dragon Blog. Subscribe to the free, quarterly Newsletter email to get put on the mailing list.

3 Ways YOU can help today! (that dont involve giving money)
1- Forward this newsletter to 2 people who might be interested in our work. 2- Write a blurb about Blue Dragon in your work or school newsletter or on you blog. 3- Encourage friends and family to donate or sponsor a child.

An update on the work of Blue Dragon Childrens Foundation Vietnam - December 2010

Featured fundraisers
Jenny and Max Callaghan of Bateau Bay, NSW, hosted a dinner at their home in October and raised $1800!!! The special night included a 6 course dinner and a raffle. Nadine Ziegeldorf, who volunteered with Blue Dragon from 2006 to 2009, recently donated 100 cute teddy bears from her business to Blue Dragon in Australia. Roseville College students in Sydney have pitched in by selling the bears for $25 each! All money raised will go to the Hoi An Childrens Home. Jenny and Maxs dinner party gets into full swing (below)

8s for Change at Kirwan State High School had a fundraising day at their school, selling cakes and books, running competitions and performing music. The event was a great success and raised $1200!

Students at Kirwan Earlier this year Geert and Hilde Merlevede-Casier celebrated their 25th High school perpare wedding anniversary. Instead of presents they asked for money to be donatfor their fundraiser ed to Blue Dragon, and they raised $2500, thats $100 for every year of their (above) marriage! Thank you also to Lieve Sabbe for passing on our details to them. To find out about other people and organisations who have donated, click here.

Blue Dragon around the world

As Blue Dragon reaches more children in Vietnam, we need more support from our friends around the world. We are now fortunate to have support from two groups: Blue Dragon Childrens Foundation International: This is the Australian Board that governs our work in Vietnam. The Board meets quarterly, and can be contacted at . Blue Dragon Childrens Trust (New Zealand): This Wellington-based volunteer group aims to raise support for our work throughout New Zealand. Contact them at: .

Happy Holidays!
Wherever you are, and however you celebrate Christmas, the Blue Dragon kids and staff wish you the very best. Thanks for your support throughout 2010!

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