When the student becomes the teacher

Michael Brosowski
November 21, 2021

From Michael’s blog lifeisalongstory.com

It’s more than 10 years since Blue Dragon first met PK.

She was a little girl at the time. She spent her days and nights walking around Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem lake, greeting tourists with her huge smile in the hope of selling postcards or chewing gum.

Visitors to Vietnam react very differently to street kids like PK. Some find them annoying; some are taken by their charms and want to interact with them. Others see street children as mere objects to exploit.

In reality, life on the streets is horrible. Especially for a child.

PK was one of those kids who wanted something better for her life, so gladly took up Blue Dragon’s offer of assistance. At first she would only come to occasional social events. Then she joined the Blue Dragon Hip Hop crew, and since then has been a part of the Blue Dragon family.

PK as a teenager

PK as a teenager.

Over the years, this little girl has grown into a strong, determined young woman. During 2020, with COVID raging around the world, she was in Australia on a year-long scholarship to learn English with Langports College. Despite all the uncertainty ahead, she bravely chose to stay and finish her studies.

Now that she’s back in Vietnam, PK has done her best to find work, but there’s very little to be found. And so she has returned to Blue Dragon – this time, not seeking help but offering it instead.

With most schools in Hanoi (and around the country) still closed, PK is helping out every day with a group of children who are facing particularly difficult times.

The kids are aged from 4 to 8. Without schools or kindergartens to attend, they have no place to go.

Their parents are out working on the streets all day just to get by. That leaves the families with a dreadful choice. The children can either follow their parents as they collect scrap or sell fruit on the street, or stay home alone.

Blue Dragon has stepped in to offer daily classes – and someone to care for the children. PK is part of that team. She comes to classes with her trademark smile and energy, leading lessons and comforting the little ones when they’re feeling down.

PK helping one of the little guys with his studies

PK helping one of the little guys with his studies.

PK understands what it’s like to be little and out on the streets. She doesn’t want any child to go through that experience. So she’s putting her values into action and giving back.

We all have a part to play in caring for those around us. But when a young person who has needed help in the past comes back to lend a hand, there’s something extra powerful about that.

Her personal motto says it all. PK’s social media carries the tag line: “You can’t choose where you were born, but you can choose where you succeed.”

On Saturday, Vietnam celebrated Teachers’ Day. This is a national occasion to appreciate those who dedicate themselves to teaching others. PK doesn’t have a degree, but to the children of Blue Dragon she’s the teacher who inspires them every day.

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