Back in May, Blue Dragon launched an important funding appeal. We needed to raise money to expand our outreach services for street kids.
For the last year or so we have had one Outreach worker, a young man who once worked as a shoeshine boy himself. His job has been to go out at night to the places where street kids hang around to look for anyone who needs help and make sure the kids know where to come if they have trouble.
In particular, he looks for the little kids and those who have newly arrived in the city, before they get caught up in the gangs and prostitution.
It's difficult and sometimes dangerous work, but I feel pretty strongly that it's also extremely important. And having a single staff member with all of that responsibility really isn't good enough. For every kid we meet, there are many more who we don't have the time to get to.
In Outreach, every case is urgent. Letting kids fall through the cracks can have severe consequences. This means that we need to have Outreach staff on call 24/7... Street kids don't normally stick to the 9-5 routine!
And so we conceived of holding an appeal to raise the money needed for expanding the service. The total goal was about $67,000: enough money to hire 2 new staff for 2 years; provide food, clothing and emergency care for the kids we find; offer a counseling service; and buy a 2nd hand car so that we can drive the kids back to their homes and reunite them with their families. (Nearly all of the kids on the streets of Hanoi have come from the countryside - often way up in mountainous regions).
I am HUGELY PLEASED to say this morning that we've made it. Our friends and sponsors around the world have agreed that this is important work, and sent the funds needed to double the number of street kids we reach every week.
We'll be contacting all of the donors in coming days to let them know. Donations have come in amounts from $5 to $15,000 - and every one of them has been greatly appreciated.
To our donors: Thank you. It's time now for the Blue Dragon team to get working on reaching more street kids and making good use of the support you've shown us.