Thursday, September 17, 2009

Better than shoe shine

A great event took place yesterday: one of the Blue Dragon kids, a former shoe shine boy, opened his very own mobile phone shop here in Hanoi.

Nghia, who turns 18 in a month, has been working toward this for a long time. I first met Nghia 3 years ago in Ho Chi Minh City; his family is from a northern province but he'd made his way south to support his parents by working on the streets.

You can look at my original blog about meeting Nghia here - The Big Secret. Scroll down about half way to the paragraph starting "And here in Saigon".

Since then, Nghia has finished Grade 9 and also studied a few courses in mobile phone repair, including two internships in small mobile phone businesses. His dream all along has been to have a shop of his own; and as he stood yesterday behind his counter with a grin from ear to ear, all his hard work seems to have been worth it.

Nghia is not the first Blue Dragon kid to open a business. I've written about some previously, including in this post. But we don't have a whole lot of former street kids out there with their own businesses just yet; most of our kids are still too young, or have other dreams and ambitions.

For those who have taken this step, though, it can be very empowering to join the ranks of the self employed small business owner. I guess that's what shoe shining is, in its own way: a small business with customers, some investment in capital, and a need to turn a profit each day. The move from the streets to a rented shop is a significant step, though. Nghia's shop is a legitimate business; there's a respectability in what he does now that 'street kids' will never get by shining shoes.

We're really proud of Nghia. His perseverance, study, and determination have all come to something.

(In case you're in Hanoi, Nghia's shop is located at 18 Tran Khat Chan Street in Hanoi).



Anonymous said...

oh yay!!! Congrats to Nghia, and to BlueDragon as well! That is wonderful news, and I wish Nghia all the best for the business.
Michael how about a full list of all BD kids' & supporters' businesses, from HCM to HN and everywhere else? We can all help pass it around and promote them.
Just a thought.

Mosher said...

Superb news and all my best wishes to the new store manager! Drop me a mail if he still wants some help with a website.

Siran said...

It's really heart-warming for me to read these stories and especially good news of these kids leading a better, more promising life! Good work, Blue Dragon!