Sunday, June 28, 2009

A farewell, and a new beginning

The kids and staff at Blue Dragon's Hanoi drop-in centre have farewelled a much-loved volunteer, Kathryn Freeman, who has been with us for the past 12 months coordinating our street children program.

Kathryn originally came to us as an Australian Business Volunteer for about 6 weeks, but then applied to return for a year-long stint as an Australian Youth Ambassador. She's been simply amazing, helping us to improve our work significantly. We'll miss you, Kathryn - stay in touch!

Our work in central Vietnam, rescuing children who have been trafficked to Ho Chi Minh City, has been running very well with the help of another volunteer, Skye Maconachie, whose drama program with 'returned children' is being documented in this blog.

A sudden turn of events late last week could signal some challenging weeks ahead, though. A family contacted our staff to say that their 14 year old son is being abused in a garment factory, working as an unpaid slave, and the boss won't let him go home without a payment of 13 million dong - that's about $760 US. The family would be lucky to earn that amount in 2 years.

As we investigated the case, the factory owner stood firm for a while but then let the boy go. He wasn't paid anything at all for his months of labour, and he was warned not to tell anyone about his experiences. But now that the boy is home, he has told us that the factory has many children... all from a village we have never been to before.

We're yet to gather all the facts, but there's some urgency to this as the boss appears to be fairly brutal. I am hoping we can gather enough information for the police to act on this one sooner rather than later...


.

2 comments:

Hanoi Real Estate - GAHousing said...

Michael and his team at Blue Dragon are doing a job helping and working with the street kids of Hanoi.

Mike Dao - Golden Ant Housing

Hanoi Real Estate - GAHousing said...

Michael and Blue Dragon are doing a good job helping and working with the street kids of Hanoi.
Great Charity.
Mike Dao - Golden Ant Housing