Maiv was born with the world against her.
Aged 15 now, she has grown up in the mountains of Bac Kan province, a beautiful but remote part of Vietnam where people live in deep poverty.
Maiv is H’mong, and has never learned to speak the mainstream Kinh language of Vietnam.
She has never been to school, either. Maiv was born blind and with an intellectual impairment. Because her community is in such an isolated area, she has never had a proper assessment of her abilities or her needs.
Late last year, while Maiv’s parents were out working in the forest, her difficult life took a very dark turn. A cousin came to her home and raped her on three separate occasions.
Horrific crimes like this happen every day in every corner of the world. People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable simply because they are less likely to be able to defend themselves or to speak out.
For Maiv and her parents, living in extreme poverty and unable to communicate in Vietnam’s official language magnified their feeling of helplessness.
Blue Dragon usually focuses on cases involving either human trafficking or homelessness. But when the local government reached out to ask us to assist this family, there was no question that we would help.
This week, Maiv’s attacker faced court. He was under 18 at the time, so was tried as a minor and sentenced to 9 years in prison. As an adult, he would likely have faced double that.
Our involvement in Maiv’s case doesn’t end there. We’ve been working with Maiv and her family to understand what they want and need so that they can create lives free from the desperation they’ve been experiencing.
Soon we will be bringing Maiv and her older sister to the city where Maiv can start learning life skills and speaking Kinh in a special school. She will need lengthy treatment for her health, and her sister will enroll in a vocational course so that in the future she can find a job.
And while all this is happening, Blue Dragon’s psychologists will be helping Maiv recover from her ordeal. She has been through a traumatic experience, and healing will take time.
The weekly Blue Dragon blog tries to find a moment of joy or inspiration in the stories we share. In Maiv’s story, there is not much joy to be found.
But there is hope.
Her difficulties are not over, but for the first time Maiv and her family have a plan for the future. Nothing we can do will wash away the past, and creating some light in Maiv’s life is going to take substantial time and effort.
For the chance to turn Maiv’s life around, though, it will be worth it.
**Right now, Blue Dragon is asking for donations to help Maiv, and children just like her. If you can, please consider a donation to the Rescue Appeal today.