Here’s how to share the joy of Christmas
1. Hover your mouse over the pictures above for more information
2. Tick the boxes next to your chosen gifts
3. If you are giving across categories, please click ‘Add to Stocking’ under each category
4. When you are ready to pay, click only one ‘Check out’ box to get to the check out page
5. Fill in your details and pay through your PayPal account or Credit Card
6. Bask in the warm glow that your gifts have given hope and joy to children this Christmas!
7. Click here if you want to donate by cheque or bank transfer.
“I left home because my family was too poor to take care of me . I thought I could go to the city, find a job and send money to my family. But when I got to the city, I didn’t know anyone…I was too small to find a job. I used to hang around the night market, and collect garbage or I’d catch the shrimps jumping out of the tanks. If I was lucky I could make about 40,000 VND ($2) in a day. Then I would buy a loaf of bread for my food and find a place to sleep. Lots of days I didn’t have any money.
I met Blue Dragon staff when I was sleeping on a bench on the street and they invited me to come to Blue Dragon for lunch. I didn’t believe them! But I was so hungry a few days later, I decided to go see for myself. There was so much food on the tables, like what my Mum made at home. And there were lots of kids like me, my age. I talked and talked for a long time. After that, I came for lunch and I met the social workers. They knew I couldn’t go back home or school, so now I am 14 and live in a Blue Dragon shelter. Often I think about when I got invited to lunch. I am so glad I took up that offer.”
In the remote area of far north Vietnam, children from ethnic minority families are among the poorest of the poor. Their families struggle to put food on the table and trafficking is rife. Many of Blue Dragon’s rescues originate from these poor areas, where children and families are duped into believing the trafficker’s promises of a better life.
Education is key to protecting these children but being able to get to school is sometimes impossible. The average distance to secondary school in Dien Bien, one of the poorest provinces in Vietnam, is 16 kilometers. And that is 16 kilometers through muddy, mountainous terrain with no protective footwear.
Boarding schools are one way of creating an opportunity for a child to study full-time at school. Resources are limited though, and so the schools can be very flimsy and unsafe. We’ve discovered one such boarding school in Dien Bien housing 146 students in cramped and unhygienic condition, 25 to a small 30 sqm room.
The walls are made from woven, dried leaves, open to the rain, wind and cold. The children sleep on a raised bamboo platform on thin mats, unprotected by blankets or mosquito nets. Their kitchen has a dirt floor with no cooking facility. Two toilets – also used as shower rooms – cater to all students.
Blue Dragon, with support from Rolld, is building a new Boarding School for 150 students to open next year. It will be a well built and maintained facility providing safety and protection. We need funds to equip it and enable all the students to live in this safe and protected environment.
We need funds to equip the boarding school. Rolld has generously agreed to match all donations to equip the new Boarding School with all the beds, bunks, blankets and bowls needed. If we raise enough, we can purchase water filters, rice cookers and more blankets to keep the children warm in the freezing winter months ahead. Click here to keep vulnerable kids safe in school
Rolld provides Vietnamese street inspired food. They are committed to a better social future. www.rolld.com.au
“I lived with my family in a mountainous area in far north Vietnam, farming a small plot of land. One day, a neighbour came to the house with an offer. She would take me to a job away from my home. I could earn money for my family! We were often hungry, so of course I agreed to go on the bus with her.
As we went along, I couldn’t understand any signs on the shops. I got taken to a place that looked like a warehouse with a lot of other girls and my neighbour left me. I started to panic and realised I was not in Vietnam any more. Chinese men would come to see us and they would pick who would be their future wife. A man about 40 years old picked me after a few days living at the warehouse. He took me to his home far away. I was enslaved to him and his family. It was terrible living with him but I couldn’t find a way to escape. After 5 years of this nightmare, someone in the village got in trouble with the police. The police saw that I did not have any legal papers and realised that I had been trafficked from Vietnam.
I didn’t know what would happen….and then a miracle. Some people came to my village and told me they would bring me back to my family. I didn’t trust them and I didn’t believe them when they told me I had to travel 2,900 kilometers to get to my village. How was it possible I had come so far from home? I talked more to these people from Blue Dragon and to the police and I realised this was my chance for escape. It took us many days to travel. All through the journey, I still thought it was another trick and I would never be able to get home, safe and sound.
Then I arrived at Blue Dragon and everything started to make sense. I realised I was not the only one who had been helped in this way to freedom. I talked to a psychologist and I got help from the social worker. I became more calm and ready for my journey home. I became strong to make a statement to the police so that the traffickers, my neighbour and the other people involved, would be arrested. Now I have some hope for the future, thank you to everyone who helped me get home”