Thank you so much to everyone who gave
to the Blue Dragon COURAGE Appeal!

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Together we raised $362,405 to provide safe homes, protection and care to trafficked, abused and at-risk children in Vietnam.

Safe Homes

2 new + 3 existing shelters and assisted living = 5 safe homes

When Blue Dragon rescues a child or young person, they need urgent practical attention: clothing, food, health checks – and a safe place to stay. Safe homes give children in crisis the security and stability they need with support from social workers, residential care workers and psychologists.

Our existing shelters are at capacity and we need special homes for children who have been sexually abused and girls who have been trafficked. $45,000 of COURAGE Appeal funds will equip and renovate two new shelters and $182,000 will run all shelters and assisted living for one year.

Read more about our Step Ahead program.

Protection

Double our presence on the streets = stop abuse before it happens

The best way to prevent the exploitation of kids coming to the city to live and work on the streets is to meet them as soon as they arrive. Blue Dragon’s street Outreach workers visit the parks and lakes that have become hotspots for adults wishing to meet and exploit kids.

Our Outreach team cannot meet the rapidly increasing need to rescue children from danger. $79,000 of COURAGE Appeal funds will increase the number of social workers in the Outreach team and their presence on the streets, and provide more crisis care like health checks, legal support and psychological services in the next year.

Read more about our Step Ahead program.

Care

Counselling and practical help = heal the trauma of trafficking and abuse

Blue Dragon has rescued 104 girls and young women from forced marriages or brothels in China and helped another 91 to return home and recover from their ordeal.

Thanks to $56,000 of COURAGE Appeal funds, we will provide trauma counselling, medical assistance, food, clothes and therapy for 60 girls rescued from the sex trade. We will provide training and capacity building for local officials so they learn how to investigate, rescue and prosecute traffickers – increasing the fight against trafficking in Vietnam.

Read more about Project X.

The funds will go towards helping children like Dinh, who Blue Dragon rescued from a brothel in China last year, and Hai, who we met when he was living under a bridge in 2012.

Rescuing boys like Hai*

We met Hai in 2012, living under a bridge and collecting scrap in order to survive. He had run away from his home in the countryside, driven by poverty and domestic violence. But his dream of a new life in the city was destroyed when he was trapped in a network of pedophiles, sexually abused heavily traumatised. We offered him immediate care: clothing, meals and a safe place to stay.

Today, Hai lives in a Blue Dragon shelter. He’s in school, works a part-time job, and developed a passion for photography after participating in a Blue Dragon workshop. The Shelter has transformed the lives of dozens of children just like him providing a safe home and an escape from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Our vision is to expand this critical service to protect even more children in special need of care.

*Not their real names

Rescuing girls like Dinh*

Last March, Blue Dragon rescued 16 year old Dinh from a brothel in China. Dinh left home one day with a young man who she thought was her boyfriend. He’d persuaded her to travel to the border provinces for a day trip, but she did not return. Her family were distraught but with no way of finding her, they felt their daughter was lost forever. Eighteen months later, Dinh was able to call her family from a mobile phone she had secretly found. Through her tears, she told them that her ‘boyfriend’ had sold her to a trafficker, who had taken her across the border to a brothel in China. Dinh only had the vaguest idea where she was and no Chinese language skills.

Working with Vietnamese police, Blue Dragon’s rescue team pieced together clues to work out Dinh’s location and form an escape plan. Finally, Dinh was rescued, crossed the border and was brought safely home to Vietnam. Her traumatic ordeal working in the brothel was over. After receiving emergency care and counselling from our team, Dinh began to claim her life back.

She’s now in Grade 9, three grades lower than her peers but really doing very well at school despite all the difficulties. Dinh regularly sees our psychologist; they have become very close and Dinh regularly participates in supportive therapies to assist her recovery, such as dance classes and meditation. She attends group therapy and has developed great relationships with other survivors. We’re proud that she is growing into a confident young woman, with a promising future.

A look back on the COURAGE Appeal

We’ve always known that the Blue Dragon kids were courageous: that they’ve had to be to survive the dangers
of life on the streets and deal with the traumas of trafficking and abuse.

So when the idea of COURAGE was suggested as our theme for the 2015 Appeal, we leapt at the idea, and our kids’ response showed it was the right choice. Over two weeks they worked with our social workers to explore what courage meant to them and express that through photography.

Their storyboards and images have been featuring on our website during the appeal, but in case you missed them, here they are again.