This is why…

Blue Dragon Children's Foundation
Blue Dragon Children's Foundation

Michael has posted a link on his blog today to an article on a Vietnamese newspaper’s website. Don’t worry, the article is in English!

Essentially it details the costs involved in sending a child to school in Vietnam. Yes, costs. Schooling is not free in Vietnam and is out of the financial reach of a lot of people. Judging by the article it’s not helped by some schools using children and parents as a means of extracting further cash.

To put the sums in context, 2 million dong is around £70 or US$110. This is a “fee” some schools are asking for before registering a child. And a further 2 million for clothes and equipment. Other sums mentioned may seem small to us (40,000d is around £1.50) but remember that many people in Vietnam earn as little as US$ per month.

Putting their children through school, if they can afford it at all, can plunge a family into huge amounts of debt. Many simply don’t bother, which is why the country has so many street children. Runaways who don’t want to be a burden on their parents, children who need to work to help the family break even each month and so on.

Social security simply doesn’t exist in Vietnam and – as in many other countries – the children are amongst the first to suffer. And with them, the future of the country as a whole.

This is why I wholeheartedly support the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation and the other similar NGOs which it works in partnership around the country. This is why I’ve banged on about them for over three years. This is why I spent six weeks in Hanoi in 2006 working with those children and helping them develop a new, self-maintained web site. This is why I walked from Monaco to Newcastle to raise money for them.

This is why I won’t stop. Children matter in every country. Vietnam just happens to have gotten its hooks into me in a way no other country has managed.

Please pop by the BDCF web page and make a donation. As you can see by the sums above, what seems fairly small change to you or I could get a child through school for a year in Vietnam. Even a small donation will make a difference. Blue Dragon’s admin costs are kept to a minimum with the vast majority of incoming funds being used for the purposes that you, the donating public, expect them to be used.

This is why you can make a difference.

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