17-year-old “Nhu” grew up on a houseboat as her parents work as fishermen. Their income is irregular and small, so the family struggles to make ends meet. As the oldest child, Nhu feels responsible for helping her family. She wants to contribute so that they can be safe and live comfortably.
Since she was a young child, Nhu has not felt welcome within her community. She has been constantly teased for her appearance, making her feel uncomfortable and anxious. When she was 14 years old, it all became too much, and Nhu left home.
She went to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and was introduced to a job in a garment factory. For almost eight months she worked day and night, with few breaks, to keep up with the factory orders. She experienced many health problems, but the factory owner never let her rest or have any days off.
In July 2017, Blue Dragon found Nhu, and four other children working in the factory, and helped them to return to their communities. Once back in her hometown, Blue Dragon supported Nhu to return to school.
Nhu tried her hardest, but after a few months the discrimination became too much. She felt constantly anxious, and worried about her identity. So she returned to HCMC, this time finding a job at a streetside restaurant.
Blue Dragon social workers kept in touch, making sure Nhu was ok, and offering her support. One day Nhu broke down and told the social workers all of her worries, and expressed her desire to continue her education. But in a way she felt comfortable.
After some career guidance, and with her recent work experience in a restaurant, Nhu made the decision to become a chef. So Blue Dragon staff supported her to apply to a hospitality school and relocate to Hanoi where the training is held.
Things are looking up for Nhu. She will be surrounded by a strong support network, free of judgement. In her new location, Blue Dragon is supporting her to believe in herself, develop her self confidence, and grow as a person.
No child should have to work to survive, and they should never be in a situation where they are exploited or discriminated against.
It is thanks to our wonderful supporters around the world that Blue Dragon can continue to fight for children’s rights. Together we can stop child labour and instead support children to work on their dreams!
#NoChildLabour #SayNoToChildLabour #WDACL2019 #WorldDayAgainstChildLabour