Friday, August 26, 2011

Can you help Chinh in Auckland?

Since I have been living in Vietnam, I have become involved with Blue Dragon - a children's foundation that reaches out to kids in crisis throughout Vietnam - especially streetkids and children who have been trafficked. Last year Close Up did a story about Chinh and two other streetkids from Vietnam who got scholarships through Blue Dragon to come and study in Auckland.

Chinh, who is studying business, did so well that he has got a scholarship for another year. He will be in Auckland working on his business course until the middle of next year, and after that he hopes to have good enough grades to earn a scholarship to attend a New Zealand university.

But there is one problem - Chinh desperately needs to find homestay accommodation.  Blue Dragon staff and volunteers have been searching for months to find a suitable homestay for Chinh, but there have been no offers.  At one point, he was living in backpacker accommodation in central Auckland!

Currently, Chinh is living in an apartment in the central city, shared with two other international students. He works part time as a cleaner in a supermarket to help pay costs.  With the income from his job, Chinh would be able to make some contribution towards bills and other costs, but he would not be able to pay as much as most paid international homestay students do.

We are not just looking for a homestay to save costs: By living with a New Zealand family, Chinh will have the support and protection that a safe family environment can provide. He will have an opportunity to learn more about New Zealand and our culture, and living with native English speakers will help him to improve his English well enough to hopefully achieve his goal of attending university.

Please help us - Chinh is a good kid and has overcome unimaginable obstacles to achieve as much as he has already. I feel sure that if people knew about his situation, there would be somebody who would be proud to welcome him into their home - even if only for a short time. If you have space, or you know somebody who does, please get in touch with me at this email address: katrina.lawson AT 

Even if you can't offer Chinh accommodation, you can still help: Forward this message to your friends and family and spread the word.

You can find out more about Blue Dragon by visiting their website here:

Or, "Like" their Facebook page to receive news and updates about their incredible work in Vietnam:

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this.  If you have any questions, or think you can help - please contact me!

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