Hello, Langports students! I am John France, the founder of Langports English Language College and chairman of The Langports Group.
A few weeks ago I traveled to Hanoi in Vietnam to visit Michael Brosowski at Blue Dragon. (In the photo:Michael, an ‘old’ Blue Dragon boy and John France)
In October 2002 Michael Brosowski, an Australian teacher, arrives in Vietnam to work at Hanoi’s National University. Within two months, Michael finds himself teaching English to a group of kids he never expected to meet: shoeshine boys who walked the streets hoping to earn enough money to survive.
In 2003, enlisting the help of one of his university students, Pham Sy Chung, Michael teaches weekly classes in English, maths, art and yoga to 5-10 shoeshine boys. They start a football team. More and more kids seek their help, and by the end of 2003, Michael and Chung decide to create their own organisation: Blue Dragon is born.
The first street kid they met in 2003 asked for English lessons to attract better-paying foreign shoeshine customers. Other kids needed clothing, medicine, good food – and someone to talk to. Many of the kids loved football, but had no opportunity to join safe, healthy activities. Two boys ended up at the police station and needed support to attend court. Kids needed long-term care, shelter, educational opportunities and escape from their places of slavery.
At Blue Dragon today, they provide all of these services and more, tailored to the individual needs of each child: education, nutrition, health care, counselling, physical and creative activities, rescue, legal advocacy and safe shelter led by our team of social workers, psychologists, teachers and lawyers. The children they work with have a deep commitment to improving their lives. We are proud of their success stories.
Blue Dragon has 65 staff and cares for over 1,500 children in Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Hue, Hoi An and Dien Bien. By focusing on getting kids back into education, training and apprenticeships, we are working for the long-term benefit of children in need. In ten years’ time, we will still be here doing what we do best: creating opportunities for lasting change.
In the photo: Michael Brosowski along with Blue Dragon’s co founder Pham Sy Chung (in blue denim) talking to street kids in 2003.
The Langports Foundation www.thelangportsfoundation.com has been supporting the tremendous work done by Michael and his staff since 2011, and it was an amazing personal experience for me to visit them for the first time.
I spent a whole day and had the privilege of meeting many of the children and staff, I was even invited to share a delicious lunch!
When I left and had time to reflect on my experience, the most prominent thought that came to me and continues to remain in my heart, was the look of love on the faces of the children. These were children that had experienced all sorts of hardships and challenges in their young lives and it made me feel so humble to see what Blue Dragon meant to them.
If I should try and define what LOVE looks like, it was clearly reflected in the faces of these young children.
It is a great privilege, for me and my family to continue to support Blue Dragon through The Langports Foundation. We plan to continue helping Michael provide care and love to these children for many years to come.
In the photo: John was invited to share lunch with some of the Blue Dragon children.
If any of you want to give your support, you can do so in a number of ways. Please visit the Blue Dragon website: www.bluedragon.org
IN VIETNAM BLUE DRAGON has;
A trip to an Aboriginal Community in Queensland: Susie France and 14 Langports students from Brisbane and the Gold Coast schools visited the Cherbourg Aboriginal Community: https://www.langports.com/a-trip-to-an-aboriginal-community-in-queensland/
You all make a difference: Life is always so busy but once in a while it is nice to stop and give someone some help. That’s what our Langports students do every three months https://www.langports.com/you-all-make-a-difference/