Footie shirt winner!

Front of shirt
Front of shirt

Raffle entries closed yesterday and a huge “thank you” to the entrants, of which there weren’t many but each was very generous indeed. Please, if you missed the competition do consider still making a donation. As happens annually, the east coast of Vietnam has taken a weather-related battering and Blue Dragon needs your funding to help them rebuild their homes, and eat in the meantime.

I snipped up a few bits of paper and dropped them into a hat (actually a Tesco carrier bag, but let’s not be picky). A quick rummage and the winner that came out was…

*drum roll*


Which is good for me as I think she’s the only UK-based entrant so it will keep the postage cost down. I actually met her a few days ago and I could have handed her the football shirt personally. Instead, I will trust it to our increasingly dodgy postal service. Keep an eye open for it in a week or so, Janice.

Again, thank you all for your entries and generosity!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Blue Dragon – keep it rolling in!

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

I may possibly be heading to Vietnam again later this year and of course, if I do, one of my priority stops wil be Hanoi to see the kids at the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation again. I’ve been chatting to Michael there recently (we’ve had a couple more generous donations via the 1000 Mile Walk page), and he’s currently in Australia doing some much-needed fundraising.

Thing is, as everyone worldwide pretty much has to tighten their belts as the money dries up. People can’t afford to give cash away. Sadly, though, the need for this money doesn’t abate. Children still need help, education… rescuing.

Mike recently posted the following video on the VietnamStreets blog. It shows a young boy who has just been rescued from a sweat shop. He simply didn’t believe that Michael and the team were there to free him from the slave-driving filth who were making him work 16+ hours a day for nothing. They handed him a telephone so his mother could explain herself.

Now you tell me. Isn’t his reaction – the tears, the relief, the knowledge he was once again free – worth a few pounds, dollars, yen, euros or whatever? Please, please, please – spare a few bucks. I know times are tight. But the price of a couple of pints can make a huge difference to these children.

Donations can be made via this page on the Blue Dragon site.


Buy a book!

Quotations for Positive PeopleNot one by me (yet!), but one that will benefit the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. Rather than just direct you over to Mike’s Blog post about it, I’ll repeat the details here:

Quotations for Positive People is a collection of inspiring quotes that has been compiled by Larry Welch – and he’s offered to donate all of the profits to Blue Dragon! Thanks, Larry!

We’re going to use the funds for some of our most positive work – providing homes to children who live on the streets. So, buy the book! Give it to your friends! Pay your staff in copies of the book rather than boring old cash!

Click here for more info: