When Blue Dragon started back in early 2003, we were focused on helping street kids get off the streets and back into school or vocational training. Some were old enough to get jobs, and their most popular choice was in hospitality, where jobs are relatively easy to come by.
Over the years, the horizons of the kids coming to us have broadened. We're supporting one teenage girl to study Civil Engineering at university; we have teens studying Business Management, motorbike mechanics, and languages.
And, of course, we still have kids interested in hospitality and vocational training.
Our challenge is to help the kids with their career choices. It's rarely easy for young people to decide what they want to do with their lives; even moreso for kids who believe they don't have any chance at success anyway.
To deal with this, the Blue Dragon psychologist has been organising career orientation programs, involving field trips to places of business, and arranging weekend workshops at the Blue Dragon centre in Hanoi. Last weekend about 30 kids turned up to learn about a range of job options, including:
- cooking, with a presentation by a former street kid who now works as a chef at Don's Bistro
- mechanics, with trainees and staff of VIP Bikes sharing their experience
- sales and marketing
- web design
... and a presentation about becoming a Social Worker, by one of our own.
Altogether, a very successful day!