Blue Dragon movie fundraiser 25 August

This year’s Blue Dragon Children’s Trust NZ’s movie fundraiser is Blinded by the Light, to be held at the Penthouse Cinema in Brooklyn, Wellington at 6pm on Sunday 25 August.

Directed by Gurinder Chadha (director of Bend It Like Beckham), this new British comedy-drama movie is set in the town of Luton in 1987 Thatcherite Britain. When music fanatic Javed discovers the back catalogue of Bruce Springsteen (The Boss) his world is turned upside down. Already a creative soul, his passion for music and writing is set alight by the songs of the working-class poet. Yearning to escape life in his rundown hometown and the rules of his traditional Pakistani household, Javed finds himself caught in between two worlds and must discover if he too is Born to Run.

Watch the trailer

Tickets are $25. Please contact any of the trustees and let them know how many tickets you would like.

Alison Kember:; 021 727101
Iona McNaughton: 021 799 059
Kirsty Hazledine: 027 222 1037
Sue Gifford:  021 122 7148
Sue Chamberlain: 021 633 566
Sylvia Hunter: 022 070 6023
Thu Phuong Truong: 021 256 3771
Dianne Thomas Bryan: 027 585 8428
Dinah Dobson: 027 686 4554

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Wellington College fundraises for Blue Dragon’s work

Wellington College International Students ‘Association

By Ken Rayner
At Wellington College, we put a really strong emphasis on community. We’re always aiming for our actions to parallel our COLL values – in which the C stands for community. Not only do we support people within our community, we also aim to support others outside the College community.

The Wellington College International Students’ Association has been a fundraising partner of Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation in Vietnam for several years now, supporting the work that they do to improve the lives of children in Vietnam.

This includes ensuring that children on the streets are given accommodation and an education, as well as intervening in the trafficking of kids into the labour and sex industries.

We believe that the work that Blue Dragon does is vital, and we have been holding annual fundraising events to help raise money so that Blue Dragon can continue its important work in fostering every child’s potential.

Among our more notable fundraising efforts has been our annual Quiz Night as well as the sports tournament, which we have been running for the past two years. Both events are aimed at fundraising for Blue Dragon but we also put a huge emphasis on the fun nature of these events.

Wellington College students volunteer their time at the Blue Dragon Book Fair.

Some of us also helped out at the Blue Dragon Book Fair in the Ngaio Town Hall in May this year.

Last year we were very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet the Blue Dragon founder Michael Brosowski. All of the stories he had to tell and his dedication to helping children in Vietnam, as well as his hopes for similar initiatives in other countries really inspired our group.

It’s given our club even more motivation to continue our work to support Blue Dragon, and to have extended involvement with Blue Dragon once we leave Wellington College.
Ken Rayner is a year 12 student at Wellington College and President of the Wellington College International Students’ Association.

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Another fantastic Blue Dragon Book Fair

The crowds

Book lovers crowd into the Ngaio Town Hall

The Blue Dragon Book Fair, held in the Ngaio Town Hall in Wellington on Saturday 25 May, raised $13,823. All of the money goes directly to Blue Dragon Children’s Centre in Hanoi to support its great work in providing education and training for kids from impoverished backgrounds.

Blue Dragon also rescues young people who have been trafficked – to date more than 800, including young women trafficked into China and sold into brothels, forced marriages and baby farms.

Happy kids with their book purchases

By 8am on Saturday, there were already ten people queued up outside the hall, bags and boxes in their hands. By 8.30am, the queue was making its way down the footpath. When the doors opened at 9am, the eager buyers poured in until the hall was packed.

It was exciting to see so many parents and children up on the stage browsing through the books for ages. Many of the children had their own bags and were able to fill them up with their own choices. At $1 a book, it’s a great opportunity the book fair offers to parents and young kids.

Wellington College students volunteer their time

The trustees of Blue Dragon NZ are extremely grateful to the supporters who volunteer their time to help sort books, set up the tables on Friday night, tidy and stack tables on Saturday and then tidy up at the end.

We’ve already had queries about next year’s book fair and how to donate books. We’ll be making a call in April next year so watch out then.

Our second fundraising event is a movie fundraiser around October. Also watch out for the fabulous fundraising Blue Dragon Auction in Taupo on 20 July.

The happy Blue Dragon trustees

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Record sales at this year’s book fair

Happy customers

This year’s Blue Dragon Book Fair, held in the Ngaio Town Hall in Wellington on 25 May, raised a record $14,000 – all of which goes to Blue Dragon Children’s Centre in Vietnam to support its work in rescuing young people who have been trafficked.

To date, Blue Dragon has rescued more than 700 people who have been trafficked. Many of the young women are sold to brothels or into forced marriages in China. Other young people are taken to factories in big cities like Ho Chi Minh City, where they work 18-hour days every day of the week with little food and money.

Waiting for the doors to open

The trustees are delighted with the money raised this year – more than $3000 more than the 2017 book fair of $10,400. People were queuing outside at 8am, ready for the doors to open at 9am. The first two hours were hectic and the stream of people was steady throughout the day.

“It was a hugely successful book fair,” said trustee Dinah Dobson. “It was great to have Sarah from the Blue Dragon Taupo group with us, plus the many helpers who turned up on Friday night to sort and then on Saturday to lend a hand.

Where the money raised goes …. Thanks to Wellington College for the design

“We had fantastic books this year. We loved seeing all the children with their mums and dads browsing through the kids’ books. Like last year, we had coffee on sale and delicious cake and slices, which we easily sold at the door as the happy hunters departed.”

The funds will be transferred to Blue Dragon’s Hanoi bank account soon, along with funds from people who make regular or one-off donations.

The next event from the New Zealand branch of Blue Dragon will be a movie fundraiser later in the year.

Kirsty, Sylvia and James at the sales desk

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Making a difference, one person at a time

Connor  Occleshaw, Wellington College student

Conor Occleshaw, year 13, and David Ash, year 12, are students at Wellington College. They visited the Blue Dragon Children’s Centre in Hanoi as part of their school history trip to Vietnam in the July holidays. Visiting the centre and meeting Michael Brosowski was a highlight of the trip.In November 2017, the boys spoke about the visit at the Blue Dragon NZ fundraising movie night, which raised $3870. The visit made a huge impression on the group, as seen in the following speech made by Conor Occleshaw.

Here in New Zealand, we take many things for granted. Wifi, homes, clean water, food, clean clothes and education, to name a few things. It is only when you’re taken away from that when you realise how good we have it, and just how lucky and privileged we are. I noticed this when I was on the Vietnam History Trip earlier this year.

Firstly, aside from the intense heat and the constant swarms of people everywhere, I noticed how little the people have over there in terms of material possessions. With this being said, I have never met such polite, happy people, as everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming.

Michael Brosowsoski with a Blue Dragon child

Michael Brosowsoski with a Blue Dragon child

It was only when we visited the Blue Dragon Centre when we really learned about some of the bigger problems in Vietnam. Many of these issues were regarding children, including forced marriage, in which 11% of girls in Vietnam are married before they’re 18; forced prostitution and high rates of child labour going on around the country, using children as young as 5 years old. Roughly 1.75 million children around Vietnam are labourers, earning very little pay, if any at all.

It is not only doom and gloom, however, as we found out through our visit to the Blue Dragon Centre in Hanoi. As founder Michael Brosowski explained to us, Blue Dragon is a place where children can feel safe if they are running from a crisis, be it family-based or on a larger scale, such as escaping from trafficking.

Blue Dragon aims to help children in need gain employment (and the appropriate training to succeed), education and tuition, and offers shelter and support for children who need it, be it short-term or long-term.

Michael Brosowski with some Blue Dragon children

Michael Brosowski with some Blue Dragon children

Established in 2004, Blue Dragon has reached many important milestones in terms of putting a stop to child labour, forced marriage and forced prostitution – all major issues in Southeast Asia. Since its beginning, over 500 children and teenagers have been rescued by Blue Dragon from forced labour institutions such as factories, and forced marriages and brothels.

In fact, recently we received an email from Blue Dragon, which provided us a greater insight into the processes of their work. It describes their recent rescue of ‘Hai’, a 20 year old woman who was lured with some friends from Vietnam to China under the false pretension that she was moving from her current job to a higher-paying job. On arrival, they were put into different houses and were put into forced marriages in rural China.

Trafficked young people rescued
After a year, Hai’s “husband” allowed her to use a cellphone, which she immediately used to call home for help. Blue Dragon were contacted about Hai’s case on 7 August this year. After five days, they had located her in China, and set about making a rescue plan. On 16 August, nine days later, they brought Hai home to Vietnam, safe and sound. They are now providing her with psychological support and any vocational training she may need.

In summary, in countries like Vietnam, with a population of 92.7 million people, it is all too easy for marginalised groups to be forgotten, and for their problems to be swept under the rug. Blue Dragon is providing a safe place for young people who can go on and make a difference in the world, one young person at a time.

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