As Blue Dragon marks #15Years of changing lives, we take you behind the scenes to share some surprising facts you might not know…
1. Blue Dragon was created by a group of Vietnamese and international friends in 2003.
But it wasn’t until a year later that Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation became officially registered as a charity.
2. Today, Blue Dragon works directly with over 1,500 beneficiaries at any one time.
And in addition, we meet many young people each month who need our help only for a short time before they are on their way – such as street kids who return home to their families.
3. The first shelter for 6 street children was called “The Big Room.”
We’re still in touch with all of those original residents. Two of them are now Blue Dragon staff.
4. Blue Dragon’s work has so far changed 3 laws.
Our work contributed to the revision of the 2012 law on human trafficking; we led the revision of the penal code in 2018 to protect males from sexual abuse; and we led the process of creating a circular to ensure that victims of crimes are guaranteed the right to legal counsel in 2019. And there’s more to come.
5. Ten of our staff were once children or young adults in our care.
They work in all kinds of positions, from direct care to management to behind-the-scenes roles.
6. Blue Dragon’s HQ is in Hanoi, but we work right around the country.
The people we rescue from slavery and the homeless children we meet on the streets may be from anywhere in Vietnam. We accompany them home and keep helping however needed.
7. Blue Dragon has obtained legal registration papers for over 13,000 people.
This includes birth certificates, land ownership documents, and identification cards. These legal papers safeguard children and community members from exploitation and allow them to access government services like schooling and healthcare.
8. Our first rescue of a child from human trafficking was in Ho Chi Minh City in 2005. We thought this would just be a one-off.
The fight to end trafficking is now a key part of Blue Dragon’s work. We’ve so far rescued 910 people, including girls, boys, men and women, both within Vietnam and internationally.
9. 95% of Blue Dragon staff are Vietnamese, including all people in management roles and all direct service staff.
While we are considered an international organisation, we are truly very local. Foreign staff generally have roles related to fundraising and international development.
10. Blue Dragon uses an ‘end to end’ approach to solving social issues.
We meet children in crisis situations and help them through their recovery, then offer long term care. While doing this, we advocate for systemic change, such as law reform, to deal with the core problems that caused their crisis.
11. Education is a key part of our work.
Right now Blue Dragon is supporting the education of 585 school students, and another 100 tertiary students. We have built 11 classrooms, 14 boarding rooms in rural schools, and 8 libraries. Altogether, more than 5,000 children have gone back to study with our assistance.
12. We’ve reunited 542 runaway children with their families… so far.
Every night, the street outreach team finds children living and working in the streets. We offer them food and a safe place to sleep, and we eventually assist them to return to their families.
13. Whatever it takes.
Instead of having a standardised program that children have to fit into, Blue Dragon individualises our services – we fit around the needs of the children we meet. We rescue people locked up as slaves; prepare teens to return to school after years of being homeless; offer career preparation classes; give scholarships to tertiary students; place teens in drug rehab; build houses for families… Whatever it takes to get a child out of crisis is what we will do.
14. Blue Dragon doesn’t put limits on what the kids can do.
Some of the young women we’ve rescued from sexual slavery are now teachers, nurses, and accountants. Some children we’ve rescued from slave labour have grown up to work and study abroad, while others have gone on to university. Just because they are in crisis when we meet them doesn’t mean they can’t have a bright future.
15. This life-changing work is paid for by friends around the world.
People just like you! There are sponsors sending money each month… school kids doing walkathons and bake sales… companies donating a portion of their sales… as well as grants, gifts in people’s wills, and institutional funding.