As usual, my lack of regular blogging doesn't mean that nothing is happening... In fact it's quite the opposite. There's so much going on that I am not sure where to start!
Most of our kids are back at school now, with the summer holidays behind us. People sometimes mistakenly think that Blue Dragon is, or has, a school; we do have classes at our centre, but our goal is to get the kids into local schools or training programs. There are at least a dozen different schools around Hanoi which our kids attend, each according to need.
Back in March, I wrote about a girl named Bi who had suffered a brain injury and was struggling to regain her speech and senses. Although not fully recovered - my staff say "about 80%" - Bi is now often at the Blue Dragon centre, playing games or studying private lessons with our teacher. She's able to communicate quite well, and although she often looks to be in a world of her own the visible recovery she has made is quite remarkable.
If you're a follower of Blue Dragon on Facebook, you may have seen the notice about Cath DeVrye's latest book, Paper Clips Don't Grown On Trees. Cath once volunteered with us, and has been a terrific supporter ever since. Check out her book here - each purchase helps Blue Dragon Children's Foundation!
Three of our older kids (18-21) are heading off to Auckland next week for 6-12 months of study at the National Technology Institute. Together with our student at Chatsworth International School in Singapore, that makes 4 of our kids on international scholarships. These scholarships, although free, do come at a cost - Blue Dragon still needs to support living allowances, and even the process of applying for a visa for former street kids is rather complex and time-consuming - but these are amazing opportunities that are just too good to turn down.
Our drop-in centre has a steady flow of new faces these days; our staff have become great at finding runaway children, bringing them to the centre to care for them, and help them reunite with their families. As I write this, one of our staff is in the countryside with a 14 year old named Long who has been living on the streets for less than a month. Long has been really worried about going home, but the text message from my staff about 20 minutes ago said: We are back at Long's house now... Everything is fine and Long is very happy."
And speaking of the drop-in centre, here's what the kids were up to this afternoon...