Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The chicken I love

It's Wednesday night, and Blue Dragon's music group has just finished.

The group was started by Julian Carey, an Aussie friend and supporter of Blue Dragon, and funded by the International Women's Club.

The group's name usually raises some eyebrows: The Chicken I Love. Naturally everybody wants to know why we called it this... and the best answer is "Why not?"

The Chicken I Love was the name dreamed up by one of the group members. Sure, it's totally out of left field - but then, most of what we do here at Blue Dragon is pretty unconventional.

The group has sixteen members - about half and half boys and girls. They're all street kids, all with awful stories behind them. One boy was trafficked to the south to work on the streets. One of the girls has just run away from her uncle's home; her parents are both in prison and her uncle has been beating her and her little brother. But one other thing the kids have in common is their love of music.

For the first few months, the kids mainly went on outings - sometimes to see a band rehearse, sometimes to karaoke, sometimes to watch displays of traditional music.

Since then, the kids have focused on practising guitar or singing; they can choose which they prefer, and they study with Vietnamese teachers. It's been really nice for the past few weeks listening to the sound of kids practising the guitar on their own upstairs from the office. They might not be perfect, but their enthusiasm more than makes up for that.

Blue Dragon's stated aim is to enable kids and families to break the poverty cycle. And how do we do that? Of course we help kids get back to school and training, and sometimes help them to find jobs.

But breaking the culture of poverty is just as important. The culture of poverty says that you have no hope; that dreaming is futile and the only thing that matters is making money to get you through the day.

I don't know if any members of The Chicken I Love will ever form a rock band and tour the world. That's not the point.

What matters is that 16 girls and boys are daring to try something new and to indulge in music lessons, instead of drowning in the many problems that have swamped them.

Rock on, The Chicken I Love.


OTT said...

This story is gorgeous.

I love the blog and am linking you.

I also hope to be able to arrange a donation from my workplace very soon. I shall email you for further details.

Keep up the good work.

Kathy said...

This story brings a tear to the eye ,as do so many on this Blog.All the best to these kids.