Wellingtonians support Vietnam trust

Wellingtonians support Vietnam trust

Dinah Dobson and Julie Ward search for treasures among the hundreds of books donated to Blue Dragon.

Wellingtonians are clearing out their bookcases and international students are selling sausages for the Blue Dragon Trust, a fundraising arm of the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, Vietnam.

The books are being collected and sorted in preparation for the annual Blue Dragon book fair held at Ngaio Hall, 25 May. The sausages are being eaten by students at Wellington College.

Ten years ago, Wellingtonian Dinah Dobson visited the foundation in Hanoi. She was so impressed with the work of founder Michael Brosowski, she, along with five friends set up the Wellington-based fund-raising Trust.

The youngest trustee, Sylvia Hunter is a second-year Victoria University student. She became involved after visiting the Foundation in Hanoi as part of a school group. “Hearing about the hard lives of children who were the same age as us, was very salient. I wanted to get involved, to give back to Blue Dragon.”

Dobson said, “Young country children step off the bus in Hanoi, they know no one, they have no money or place to live. They are very vulnerable. Some are sold into slavery, prostitution or forced to work in sweatshops while others simply live on the streets.”

Brosowski went to Hanoi in 2002 to teach English and quickly found himself helping shoeshine boys and street children. He set up the foundation to support Vietnam’s poorest urban children by helping them break out of their poverty cycle. The fair and sausage sizzles in Wellington help him do this.

In preparation for the fair, thousands of books are piled chest-high in a large storage space in Thorndon. Keen volunteers and trustees spend their weekends sorting them into one of the 18 sale categories. Some books never make the tables, reference books and dictionaries are sent to the Rimutaka Prison library for the inmates while others are too damaged or mildewed to sell.

As the fair gets closer, the volunteer base will grow. Much of their time will be spent drumming up buyers and moving the heavy boxes to Ngaio Hall.

In 2018 the fair raised $14,000, the most successful yet. The money raised in Wellington is spent on housing, counselling and teachers for the street children,

The international students at Wellington College became involved with the trust after Brosowski spoke at the college in 2018. This year the senior international students formed their football team, the foundation logo is on the sleeve of their match jersey.

International football team adopt Blue Dragon as their charity. Photo Mazz Scannell

The boys run regular sausage sizzles at lunchtime to raise money. Last year they raised $2000. College teacher Ted Wang said, “ The International Students Association are very passionate about Dragons, it is the charity they have chosen to support.”

 

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Article by mazzscannell@gmail.com

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