Blue Dragon Children's Foundation
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|Founded at||Hanoi, Vietnam|
Blue Dragon Children's Foundation (Blue Dragon) is a charitably funded non-governmental organization based in Hanoi, Vietnam. Its mission is to help children escape from crisis by offering a range of services including rescue from slavery, shelter, education and employment.
The foundation was begun by an Australian school teacher, Michael Brosowski. He came to Vietnam in 2002 to teach English at the University of Economics. While there he met many street children, and began to teach free classes with one of his students, Pham Sy Chung. They taught maths, English, yoga, and art. They also formed a football team to promote a sense of sportsmanship and teamwork, while also getting to know new children living on the street. Initially 3 teenage boys turned up for these games, but soon over 40 came each weekend. In 2016 their team, Blue Dragon United, will play its 2000th game.
By early 2003, Brosowski had quit his university job to concentrate full-time on the needs of the street children. Word spread and more kept arriving to seek help, coming with medical problems, educational needs, and often needing a place to sleep. As the number grew, it became clear that many of the children coming for help would need long-term support. On June 2, 2003, The Big Room was opened, a residence for six former street kids. It was funded for its first year by a $5000 donation from two expatriate women, Chantelle and Danielle. In August 2004 in Bac Ninh province the "Stay in School" program was launched to try to help keep poor rural children in school and the group continued to reach out to other children in the Hanoi area.
In March 2004 Blue Dragon Children's Foundation was registered as an Incorporated Association in New South Wales in Australia and in September 2004, it was registered as an Independent Non-Government Organisation in Vietnam. In early 2005 Chung left Vietnam to study in the US, and Brosowski hired two full-time staff to replace him. With these two staff, a combined office and drop-in centre was opened in March of that year.
In late 2005, Browski and Va Ta, a Vietnamese law student, rescued a child from central Vietnam who had been trafficked by slave labourers in Ho Chi Minh City. This was the start of another program dedicated to recovering many more children in the same situation. In 2007, Blue Dragon rescued six girls who were kidnapped and sold as sex slaves in China. Since then, over 400 children have been returned to their families from garment factories and 100 girls have been rescued from brothels and forced marriages.
Blue Dragon's Chief Lawyer, Van Ta, was named by United States Secretary of State John Kerry as a Trafficking in Persons Hero in 2014, and the Trust Women Conference's Anti-Trafficking Hero in 2015.
Blue Dragon's main aim is to rescue children from crisis situations in the short term and then get them into school, training and ultimately employment in the long term. To achieve this, the organisation offers a range of direct services. Accommodation is provided, or repair/refurbishment of their existing home if living conditions simply aren't suitable. Out-of-school tuition is provided to help children study. Books and stationery are given to those who can't afford them, and scholarships are provided both for children and tertiary students. Medical care and nutritional support are provided to those who need it.
Child trafficking is a major issue in SE Asia, and Blue Dragon tackles this both within Vietnam and internationally. From 2005 to January 2016, Blue Dragon rescued over 500 children and young adults from forced labour, forced marriages, and brothels.
Blue Dragon operates a drop-in centre for street children in Hanoi, where they can play, shower, study and take part in social activities.
In addition to these direct services, Blue Dragon staff offer training opportunities to government officials on issues such as human trafficking and child abuse; and work with legislators to revise and improve the country's legal framework for children.
- Monday, The Big Room turns 5 June 02, 2008 Street Kids in Vietnam blog Retrieved May 27, 2016
- Blue Dragon Foundation's Annual Report 2011-2012 page 5 Retrieved May 27, 2016
- Stay in School Blue Dragon Children's Foundation website Retrieved May 27, 2016
- Blue Dragon's story Blue Dragon Children's Foundation website Retrieved May 27, 2016
- Dragon Tales - March 2011 Blue Dragon Children's Foundation Retrieved May 26, 2016
- Migrant Hero: Michael Brosowski June 26, 2015 International Organization for Migration Retrieved May 26, 2016
- Blue Dragon Annual Report 2007/2008 Retrieved May 26, 2016
- Berger, Danielle Giving Vietnam's street kids a chance June 20, 2011 Retrieved May 26, 2016
- Member of the Order of Australia recipients January 26, 2012 Retrieved May 26, 2016
- 2014 TIP Report Heroes Retrieved May 26, 2016
- Anti-Trafficking Award: Van Ngoc Ta Retrieved May 26, 2016
- BDCF official page
- Street kids in Vietnam - BDCF blog
- Blue Dragon's Facebook page
- Blue Dragon on Twitter