Friday, September 01, 2006

Trafficked children return to School

Toan recieves a bag of goods for his family

Last weekend Van, our Lawyer and Diep our trainee Social Worker headed off to Hue to help the 16 trafficked children (who were recently returned to their homes in Hue from Ho Chi Minh City) to enrol in school. A total of 24 children were enrolled, including a few siblings of the trafficked kids. Van and Diep provided each child with schoolbags and stationery to study and a bag of supplies for their family - shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and 1kg of OMO.

These kids have been on quite the journey since they were initially trafficked to Ho Chi Minh City. They are only one sixth of the kids who were trafficked from this village, that we are aware of. They now are enjoying their right to education and their right to a childhood. We intend to support these children for the duration of their education and also support their families. The poverty which these families are living in is extreme; most houses are patchworks of wood, plastic, and bamboo scraps, many with only 2 walls and exposed to the elements.

This is the home of 6 people.
One of the daughters is now attending school.

Van also discovered in this area that so many of the children were illiterate and had never been to school before. These children are at high risk of being trafficked as the traffickers bring promises of education..which of course never come true. (One of our kids was working from 7pm - 12pm the following day selling flowers - no time for school at all!)Van was able to interview 45 of these children ( there are many more ) and we are working on finding ways to get these children free education.

Van collecting information and giving gifts

Whilst Van and Diep were in Hue, they met two children and one adult in need of Eye surgery and as our lucky stars were shining, there was a group of Australian Vietnamese Eye Doctors in a nearby district. It was a VIETNAM VISION PROJECT sponsored by Australian Vietnamese Health Professionals NSW and Rotary.

Lanh, 17 years old.
Enjoying good sight after his successful eye operation.

One of the children was able to receive immediate eye surgery and is now enjoying clear bright sight, the other two people have appointments next Tuesday. Van was truly touched when the doctors gave priority to those without identity papers. When a Vietnamese doctor questioned this action the response was "because they have no papers they have always been turned away so many times at other hospitals, not here".

There is so much work to be done in Hue, and I guess for those of you in other parts of the world you could say the same about the countries you are living in. We have to do the best we can where we are, so we intend on doing all in our power to lift the standard of life for these people living in extreme poverty in villages in Hue.

On a lighter note today is our last day before a long weekend. Which we are all looking forward too. As much as I absolutely love life here at Blue Dragon you also need to take some time out for yourself and out of the CITY!!! I am off to the cool mountains of Sapa up on the Chinese border. Have a fantastic weekend!