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Featured Partner: Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation

Posted by SE Vietnam - Student Exchange Vietnam

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is an NGO focused on helping street kids and kids with disabilities as well as rescuing kids from slavery and human trafficking in Vietnam. Below we will tell the story of the organization’s humble beginnings and how far they have come in just 14 years of operation.

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Moving to Vietnam

Like many foreigners who move to Vietnam, Michael Brosowski came to Vietnam with the intention teach English. After traveling to the country for the first time in 1998, he fell in love with it. He made the big move from Australia to Vietnam and took a job at the University of Economics in 2002. He hoped to escape the stresses of the Australian work culture and live the “easy life” here in Vietnam. He was right, foreign English teachers make good money here in Vietnam and the laidback culture of the country provides an easygoing lifestyle. But shortly after arriving, Michael’s priorities shifted.

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Michael and Do Duy Vi, once a child that Blue Dragon helped and is now a permanent part of the Blue Dragon team. Vi now goes out every night approaching and forming relationships with children living on the street in hopes to earn their trust and help them the way he was helped.

The Humble Beginnings

On his way to work, he often saw children on the street shining shoes or selling things. Michael grew up in a small town in Australia, and his family didn’t have much money. He understood what being poor and lonely felt like, so he couldn’t just pass by these kids daily. He began to learn their stories, and he quickly befriended these local shoeshine boys who were working in the streets just trying to earn enough money to survive. He started by teaching them English, and after enlisting the help of one of his university students, Pham Sy Chung, he began to teach them math, art, and yoga as well and even formed a soccer club with them. As he began to recognize the needs of these boys more and more and word spread to other children in need, he was unknowingly starting the foundation for what would become Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation.

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Michael and some Blue Dragon children

Making Strides

By the end of 2003, Michael and Chung recognized the need and decided to form an organization and in 2004 Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation was officially born and registered in both Australia and Vietnam. By 2007, Blue Dragon was out and on the streets so often that they were able to permanently breakdown one of the nation’s largest trafficking rings, an amazing accomplishment. In addition, Blue Dragon has been working since 2013 on the issue of the sexual exploitation of boys in Vietnam. Boys in Vietnam are not covered by the laws regarded child sexual abuse due to the way “sexual intercourse” is defined. Blue Dragon has taken matters into their own hands working with the local government and media to spread awareness, and in 2015 the National Assembly Law Review Panel approved some amendments to the penal code to broaden the scope of the law. It has not been signed into effect yet as there is still some work to do on the wording, but the process is underway, and it is a huge step in the right direction.

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Michael and some Blue Dragon children on a soccer field, since its start Blue Dragon has played 2,477 games of soccer!

Blue Dragon’s Accomplishments

While these big accomplishments have been incredible, Blue Dragon is doing amazing work each and every day. The numbers speak for themselves: Blue Dragon has rescued 781 people from trafficking, represented 68 people in court, obtained legal papers for 11,630 people, sent 4,835 kids back to school and training, reunited 506 runaways with their families, built 92 homes for families, placed 264 teens in jobs, provided shelter to 610 boys and girls, rescued 378 young women from forced marriages and brothels, and have directly rescued 401 children from their places of slavery. All of these and more have impacted over 50,000 children and families all over Vietnam. There are so many remarkable stories within these numbers that need to be heard, and Blue Dragon is ensuring they are. In 2011 Michael Brosowski was awarded the CNN Hero Award, the first Australian to be awarded this accolade. He is nothing short of a hero, and so are many of the kids he has helped along the way. To learn more about Michael, Blue Dragon, and the kids they have helped, visit https://www.bluedragon.org.

We have recently sent our first intern, Martin Duran from Ecuador, to Blue Dragon for 19 weeks. To read more about Martin’s experiences so far, click here.

 

Interested in interning at Blue Dragon? Follow us here for tips on how to conquer an internship program in Vietnam.

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Or visit our Reviews page for more sharing from alumni about their internship in Vietnam!

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