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!