The Story of Anh*
Anh was born in a rural village in northern Vietnam. When he was just two years old, his parents divorced and his mother left Vietnam to find work in China. When the family fell on hard times, Anh’s father was forced to sell their home. He and Anh went to Hanoi looking for a better life, but all they found was poverty.
Blue Dragon met Anh as a teenager and supported him to get an education; as he got older, it became clear that without a legal identity he would be trapped in the cycle of poverty. He told us, “It’s very difficult for me to find employment opportunities because I do not have any identification, and employers require you to have at least a birth certificate.”
Anh’s aunt and uncle had been following his case for nearly seven years. They made several unsuccessful attempts to register their nephew’s birth, unable to navigate the extensive paperwork required by the local government.
Blue Dragon’s legal team travelled to the countryside where Anh’s parents used to live to investigate the family’s personal history. With the evidence they collected, the team appealed to local government officials for Anh’s legal papers emphasizing the myriad problems young people face when they lack a birth certificate. Blue Dragon approached officials in the morning, and by 5 pm, Anh was holding his very own birth certificate.
To quote Anh, his “life has changed”. He works at a restaurant in Hanoi and part-time as a motorcycle taxi driver. Now married with a baby born in July 2013, Anh has been able to provide his son with the legal papers that will ensure he can go to school, seek health care and take advantage of the opportunities which are his right.
Blue Dragon knows many children like Anh who need a legal identity. If you would like to make a powerful change by providing the gift of a legal identity, please donate to Blue Dragon now!
The story of Tu* and his mother
Tu was not the first street kid in his family: his mom grew up begging on the streets of Hanoi with her own mother, sleeping in and outside pagodas and churches around the city.
Blue Dragon met Tu in 2010. He was living on the streets with his mother but attending school using another boy’s ID card. When his teachers found out, he was kicked out of class. The Blue Dragon legal team took on his case, determined to get Tu his own set of legal papers. But before we could help Tu, we had to locate his mother’s birth certificate.
Initially it was unclear where Tu’s mother had been born; with the little information she had, we tracked down her birthplace to a rural province not far from Hanoi. Because Tu’s grandmother and mother had left so many years ago, nobody knew who the family was: they were strangers. Our team persuaded the local authorities to look into the case.
Blue Dragon’s lawyers explained the importance of securing legal identities for escaping poverty to the local authorities. This had a powerful impact on the process. With perseverance, Tu’s mother finally received her birth certificate and identification papers. With these important documents, the team were also able to acquire Tu’s birth certificate.
There was more good news. In Vietnam, disadvantaged families can apply to receive land from their local government. Now registered citizens, Tu and his mother were entitled to apply to the local village and were awarded a small plot of land. With the support of Blue Dragon, they were able to build a house, their very first home. This home provides security to Tu and his family, and Tu is now no longer at risk from the dangers of living on the streets.
*Not their real names