Blue Dragon launched the school year last Sunday in Bac Ninh province, where we are supporting 350 students from Grades 5 to 12. The annual Opening Ceremony is a bit of fun for the kids, and they all get their school gear as well as some encouragement to do their best.
The 8 trafficked children we rescued from Ho Chi Minh City are all going well; I traveled to their village in Hue Province on Tuesday and was able to meet some of their families. One of the boys, aged 15, is living in a tent on the beach with his parents and a younger brother; it was heartbreaking to see. No wonder the traffickers targeted this family. I need to work out how we can get them out of that tent and into a house.
And finally, some great news from our older teens. Now that Blue Dragon has been working for 5 years, some of our kids are finishing high school and looking to enter tertiary education. This is quite a development for us - it's a sign of our success, but not something that we have been expecting! One of the kids who has been accepted into college is a boy named Linh, who we first met on the streets over 3 years ago.
I met Linh when he was shining shoes on the streets of Hanoi to survive. Linh and his mother were living in extreme poverty: every day was a struggle, and every night the family went to sleep hungry. Eventually the pain and tension were too much for Linh, so he headed off to the big city to try to escape it all. Our volunteers were able to take him home and sort things out with his mother, who was worried sick about what might have happened to her son. Since then, we've been supporting him to go to school and keeping the family supplied with rice. Next week, Linh starts a 2 year course in IT at Aptech College. He's been selected to join the top class, which means he'll study morning and night, with all classes in English. With a bit of help, Linh has gone from being a street kid to being a college student in a selective class. What a change, and what a chance for him to make something of his life.