Blue Dragon: House 52 Shelter Appeal

Blue Dragon Children's Foundation

Here’s the deal – Blue Dragon need to raise $60,000 by the end of July or they’ll be kicked out of their current location. This is a hell of a shame as they’ve put a lot of work into making it a fantastic place for kids to drop in and be looked after. Also, if they move then it takes time for word to get out so future street children know where they can go to be safe.

Planet Wheeler have been hugely generous in agreeing to match every donation dollar for dollar – so BDCF “only” need to raise $30,000.

Please, please, please go to the following links and donate a little bit. If every friend I have on facebook donated the value of 1 beer we’d have almost $1500 to start with!

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Blue Dragon – keep it rolling in!

Blue Dragon Children's Foundation

Blue Dragon Children's Foundation

I may possibly be heading to Vietnam again later this year and of course, if I do, one of my priority stops wil be Hanoi to see the kids at the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation again. I’ve been chatting to Michael there recently (we’ve had a couple more generous donations via the 1000 Mile Walk page), and he’s currently in Australia doing some much-needed fundraising.

Thing is, as everyone worldwide pretty much has to tighten their belts as the money dries up. People can’t afford to give cash away. Sadly, though, the need for this money doesn’t abate. Children still need help, education… rescuing.

Mike recently posted the following video on the VietnamStreets blog. It shows a young boy who has just been rescued from a sweat shop. He simply didn’t believe that Michael and the team were there to free him from the slave-driving filth who were making him work 16+ hours a day for nothing. They handed him a telephone so his mother could explain herself.

Now you tell me. Isn’t his reaction – the tears, the relief, the knowledge he was once again free – worth a few pounds, dollars, yen, euros or whatever? Please, please, please – spare a few bucks. I know times are tight. But the price of a couple of pints can make a huge difference to these children.

Donations can be made via this page on the Blue Dragon site.


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Rhino Car Hire – thank you!

A slightly sideways post this one. I have been dealing with Scott from Rhino Car Hire over the last few days. He came across the 1000 Mile Walk site, and has made a very generous donation to the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. I know that site doesn’t get the traffic it did, so I would like to post this quick message here for him.

Look at it this way – every time you rent a car from Rhino, a small amount of the proceeds will be winging its way to Michael and the kids in Vietnam. And Rhino’s prices seem pretty reasonable to me as well. You can’t go wrong!

Again, a massive “thank you” on behalf of BDCF to Scott and his wife, Julie. If I ever get to Cyprus I may well look you up!

And don’t forget, folks, Blue Dragon can always make use of any spare cash you have kicking about. Please, please click on the link above and check out the instructions for donations. Unlike “western” charities, their administration costs are around 10-15% of the money brought in. So well over three quarters of the money raised will go directly to the projects that need it. That’s pretty much a complete reversal of the figures of most charities run over here.

In addition, don’t forget to check out the instructions if you’re donating from the US or Australia which will allow your cash to be passed over with tax exemption.

I’m off to school again tomorrow and then to Geneva on Sunday. More updates then.

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Buy a book!

BDCF Book coverNot one by me (yet!), but one that will benefit the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. Rather than just direct you over to Mike’s Blog post about it, I’ll repeat the details here:

Quotations for Positive People is a collection of inspiring quotes that has been compiled by Larry Welch – and he’s offered to donate all of the profits to Blue Dragon! Thanks, Larry!

We’re going to use the funds for some of our most positive work – providing homes to children who live on the streets. So, buy the book! Give it to your friends! Pay your staff in copies of the book rather than boring old cash!

Click here for more info:

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Back in Blighty!

I woke quite early and walked onto the deck to see that we’d already passed Tynemouth (and therefore the mouth of the Tyne) – I missed it by maybe three minutes! Not to worry. I marveled at the enormous cranes lining the banks as we slowed down and the pilot (is he called a pilot?) carefully reversed the enormous ferry into its parking bay. OK, not quite, but it was a very similar maneuver to the one I’ve performed in Morrisons’ car park a gazillion times, just on a somewhat larger scale.

This was it. Over 18 months away from home (bar a quick trip back for Download) and the ground was in sight. Along with the rest of the passengers, I walked down the tunnel to immigration – a walk that probably seemed even longer than it was. My only disappointment at the end was being told that I couldn’t have my passport stamped. Shame.

Outside, a photographer from the Evening Chronicle was waiting for me so that he could get some snaps of my arrival. Him, I was expecting. The two parents and accompanying dogs that were there as well were definitely not expected! The photographer gave us a few moments to say our “hellos” (and for me to remove myself from my hugging mother’s grasp) before taking a few snaps and setting me on my way for the very last stint – a walk up the Tyne and into the city centre.

It wasn’t a long walk, certainly one of the shortest I’ve had, but it seemed like one of the longest as I was just so close to the end. It was a great day for a walk, though. Not too hot or cold, no real breeze and the sun came out as I approached the bend in the river which would reveal the Tyne Bridge to me.

As I progressed up the river, more and more landmarks came into view in the distance. The civic centre, the opera house, the Millennium Bridge, St James’ Park and finally the Tyne Bridge.

I had to walk over the bridge before I got into the city centre. It’s an old tradition I’ve had for years. Even when I drove up from Bradford, I’d go over the Tyne Bridge, loop round and go back south again to where I was staying in Gateshead. So, I walked up the hill onto the bridge and halfway along it before doing a u-turn and crossing the city to St James’ Park.

My stopping point was to be the Strawberry, a pub just opposite St James’ Park and where I had been promised a couple of bottles of Newcastle Brown by the very kind manager.

Up past 55 Degrees North, left and along to the Bigg Market. Up the hill and past The Gate (which is still evil) and a left towards Stowell Street. And there was St James’ Park. Almost close enough to touch. Across the car park, the Strawberry.



And in the door. To a small cheer and a round of applause from the bar staff and two of my friends, Tony & June. My parents, it turned out, were round the other side of the pub waiting for me in the wrong place!

As promised, two bottles of Brown were supplied in a posh ice bucket. Almost (almost!) worth the walk alone. My folks arrived shortly after with a different photographer in tow who borrowed me for fifteen minutes to take some pictures.

More beer and then some farewells as my parents headed back north with the dogs and I was transferred to Tony and June’s for a couple of days’ rest.

I dunno about you, but I think I earned it.