The global health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic is causing severe harm to those who were already vulnerable or in crisis situations.
Here is what Blue Dragon is doing to support Vietnamese children and young people in crisis through this difficult time.
Blue Dragon’s shelters remain open
Blue Dragon operates four shelters for street children and human trafficking survivors. These are continuing to operate, caring for a total of 20 boys and 16 girls. While strict social distancing measures are in place across Vietnam, children in the homes are required to stay inside, so the social workers are being very creative in keeping kids constructively occupied and engaged in learning.
Our Hanoi drop-in centre has temporarily closed
While social distancing measures are in place, groups of more than 2 people cannot gather, so the drop-in centre cannot operate as normal.
Street Outreach has ramped up
Blue Dragon’s outreach team is taking to the streets both during the day and the night to look for children who are begging or sleeping rough. The number of children we have been meeting has increased significantly, including children as young as five.
We are offering children emergency accommodation and support for family reunion, as well as distributing food and hygiene supplies. During this time, we are taking the additional step of distributing aid to adults and children alike.
Staff are taking health precautions during this work, including wearing gloves and face masks.
We are distributing emergency aid to families
Blue Dragon is providing essential supplies, such as rice and noodles, to hundreds of individuals and families in cities, rural areas and quarantine centres.
Rescues of trafficking victims have slowed, but not stopped
With strict travel restrictions in place both at the border and within China, the rescues of Vietnamese girls and women enslaved in China are more challenging than ever, but Blue Dragon isn’t giving up.
We are continuing to receive calls for help from people in slavery, and are finding ways to rescue those in life-threatening situations. For those we cannot reach immediately, we are in close contact by telephone on a regular basis.
Those who we do rescue are required to stay in government-run quarantine centres for 14 days before we then accompany them home. Blue Dragon provides phone counselling and material support during this quarantine period.
Students are continuing to learn online
Vietnamese schools, training centres and universities have mostly been closed since January. Education is now largely online, and Blue Dragon is supporting students across Vietnam to ensure they can access their remote classes. Volunteers and staff are providing additional tutoring and support, including for hearing impaired children.
Close monitoring to reach those in need
Blue Dragon is in close contact with communities in rural and remote areas to monitor the situation in those regions. The aim is to immediately find out about families in difficulty, in order to get help to anyone who needs it.
To ensure children and families have the critical support they need, Blue Dragon has launched an Emergency Appeal. Funds will provide immediate relief for families in crisis, and assistance over the coming months to rebuild their lives.