14 year old ‘Manh’ is from one of the poorest regions in northern Vietnam. From his front door he can see Vietnam’s border with China, which is closer to his house than his school.
Hearing that there were many high-paid jobs in China, Manh believed that crossing the border to work would help his family, so he became one of 20 children from his school who went to China in search of a dream job.
Along the way, Manh was stopped by border guards, who contacted Blue Dragon to help him get back to his family and continue with his schooling. Otherwise, he might have ended up trapped like his schoolmate, ‘Bac’.
Bac got through the border last month and found a job planting trees in a forest. Working day and night, he earned no salary except three meals per day, and was frequently beaten. Bac ran away from abuse and exhaustion, and got back to the border with the help of Chinese police. When Bac arrived at Blue Dragon in Hanoi, he was suffering from severe skin infections due to living in unhealthy conditions. However, he quickly recovered with care and support at a Blue Dragon shelter.
Manh and Bac have now returned to their hometown and this week they are back at school. They now understand that only education can help them break out of poverty, and are determined to complete their studies.