Thursday, May 24, 2012


Some great news - we're now over the 'halfway mark' on the road to opening new centres for street kids in Hanoi.

Pledges and donations from around the world now tally up to over $80,000, so we're well on the way to reaching the goal of $150,000.

THANK YOU to everyone who has helped!

We still have a way to go, and it's a lot of work, but the end result will be some fantastic opportunities for Hanoi's street kids. The Blue Dragon website tells more about our plans and dreams, and how you can be part of them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Raw material

Some big and exciting challenges face Blue Dragon at the moment. 

We've secured a lease on a new building, which will soon be our new children's centre, and it's a great place in a great location... 

Our challenge is how to mould this into something that's welcoming to street kids. There's a lot of space for the kids to play and study, but converting an office building into a friendly children's centre will take some effort:

We're working on our ideas right now!

If you want to be involved, be sure to visit the Blue Dragon website to find out more. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Swimming, playing, learning

It's Monday! As we go back to work around the world, here's a look at how Blue Dragon kids spend their weekends... 


Blue Dragon United doesn't have a field at the moment, so we're making the best of it by teaching swimming instead. Summer has started, so the kids don't mind at all! 


We don't have our field, but some of the kids can still take part in the Hanoi Youth Football League and other tournaments arranged around town. 


 And yes, the kids take part in classes and workshops even over the weekend. These pictures show 130 senior students in rural areas taking part in Career Orientation workshops. Note the smiles - these kids love to learn! 

Friday, May 18, 2012


Blue Dragon’s almost-famous soccer team, Blue Dragon United, has been on something of a roller coaster ride over the past year.

Just last August we celebrated our 1000th game – a huge milestone, and a terrific celebration for the kids.

In recent month, however, soccer games have become sporadic and occasional, rather than the regular feature of our week that they have been for almost 10 years.

This is not at all due to a lack of interest from the kids or the Blue Dragon team; rather, due to the lack of availability of our field.

Unfortunately some simple tasks, such as booking a football field, can be inexplicably difficult in Hanoi. Despite us renting the same 3 fields every Sunday for about 9 years, there are regular intervals when we are kicked off because someone with more money than us wants the fields at the same time. The fact that we have a contract and pay 6 months in advance does not help us at all!

And so, Blue Dragon United is currently a swimming team. That’s OK for now; the weather is getting hot and it’s not a bad thing for the kids to have a break from the soccer for a little while.

But we hope to get our field back soon, or else the future of Blue Dragon United isn’t looking so good.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's all happening!

At long last, we're making some good progress on plans to open new centres for street kids here in Hanoi.

For over a year we have been looking for possible new places to open centres, but it's only in the past 2 months that we have really worked out what we're going to do.

The problem, in short, is that our current drop in centre for street kids is just too small. When we moved here 5 years ago, it was huge - but somehow it's shrunk! Or perhaps we just have more kids coming...

So we've needed to secure a place that's bigger, and where we can be confident of staying for years to come.

The new space we have found is a tall building with a yard out the front, and it's in a great location for street kids to find us. The access for people with disabilities is terrific, too: that's always a problem with buildings in Hanoi.

But we're not moving right away from our current centre. We'll be keeping one space that we currently use as a parking area, and converting it into a new centre for children aged under 12. Every week we seem to have new little kids hanging out in the centre. These are children who live with their extended family - often a grandmother or older sister - but during the days they're left out on the streets to fend for themselves. They really need their own space, with some specialist attention, so we're starting to dream about how their new centre might look.

Another new feature of our plan is to include semi-independent accommodation for the older teens who have jobs, but still need some support to keep them on track.

So the plans are taking shape, and now it's time for us to find the resources to make this happen. If you're on the Blue Dragon email list, you'll have received a message about it by now; if not, take a look here

In coming days I'll post some photos of the new centre, which is just a tall empty building right now and is going to need a lot of work to get ready for the kids.

And for sure, it will be a lot of work... but it will be worth it!

Friday, May 11, 2012

So far...

Here's a quick summary of what Blue Dragon has done since we started helping kids in Vietnam almost 10 years ago... 

To date, Blue Dragon has:
Sent 2,393 kids back to school and training 
Provided accommodation to 114 girls and boys 
Served 261,705 meals 
Built or repaired 52 homes for families 
Distributed 33,621 litres of milk 
Handed out 331,354 kilos of rice 
Reunited 109 runaway children with their families 
Taken 915 kids to a doctor or hospital 
Put 5 teens through drug rehab 
Obtained legal registration papers for 782 children 
Rescued 195 trafficked children 
Placed 72 teens in jobs 
Played 1094 games of soccer! 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The view

I wrote recently that Blue Dragon is dreaming of open some new safe spaces for Hanoi's streets kids.

We've found a new building that will become our new HQ, centre, and anti-trafficking base all in one. There's a lot of work to be done to get it ready, but it's going to be great. The kids will love it.

For now, just a 'teaser'... here's a view from the roof. You have to bend your mind to see it, though; it's a 360 degree shot. Click on the image to get the full view.

We've got some work to do!