Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation
A recent trip to Vietnam has inspired University of Newcastle employee Elizabeth Donoghue to raise thousands for a charity that protects and supports vulnerable children.
Travelling with her young son and family, Elizabeth was invited by the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation to visit the rural Bac Ninh province, where the charity runs a Stay in School Program to support families in breaking the cycle of poverty by helping their children gain a basic education.
"The threat of child trafficking for the textile industry and other illegal activities is real, and is the reason we have supported Blue Dragon's Stay at School Program so these vulnerable families have more choices," Elizabeth said.
"During our last trip we visited Blue Dragon's drop-in centre for street kids and this time we were invited into the home of one of the students supported by the Stay at School Program. During our visit to the home of Su, we met her severely disabled sister Noi, who spends her days lying on a hard wooden bed and has never had any therapy or medical assistance to help with her condition.
"The extended family lives together in one room, no bigger than a shipping container. Seeing how this family lives had a real impact on my family and I, so we made a commitment to raise $5,000 for Blue Dragon to double the size of their home, provide ongoing tuition for Su and another sister Thanh, and provide ongoing therapy and medical assistance for Noi.
"Local builders will be employed to build the extension, so our donation will benefit the whole village."
To raise money, Elizabeth and a team of helpers organised a fundraising trivia night held last month, which was attended and supported by staff from the University of Newcastle Central Coast Campus.
"The level of support from my colleagues and businesses on the Central Coast has been amazing," Elizabeth said.
"We raised more than $4,400 and that amount is increasing as more people pledge donations."
Knowing that the money raised will make a "real difference" to the lives of vulnerable children has spurred Elizabeth on to pledge to organise an annual charitable event for Blue Dragon.
"It was little effort on our part to make a life changing difference to the lives of these children and families," Elizabeth said.
To find out more about Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, or to make a donation, visit http://www.streetkidsinvietnam.com/