Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation works with street kids, survivors of human trafficking and those in positions of hardship. Here, the charity’s co-CEO, Do Duy Vi, writes about the importance of achievement and the role of sports in raising the confidence of these young people.
So many children I meet feel that they have never achieved anything. They have always been behind in class, they have dropped out of school and nobody sees the good in them. They don’t know at all what their own strengths are.
Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation wants to get the kids into school, training and later into jobs so that they can have a decent life.
To achieve this, we need to do more than just paying school fees, offering a place to live and helping them pick a career.
Because even with that help, if they do not believe in themselves, they cannot succeed.
Sometimes I meet street kids who refuse Blue Dragon’s help, even though they are desperate. Their reason? They do not believe they deserve anything good. It breaks my heart when the kids tell me that.
So what can we do to help kids believe in themselves, to see their own strengths and value as a human?
Our secret at Blue Dragon is to find ways for the kids to taste success. We create opportunities for hobbies, sports and learning so that everyone can find what they love and are good at.
In the past year, Blue Dragon’s Running Club has become a great way for many kids to gain confidence. We’ve had amazing support from Vietnam Trail Series by Topas, which has sponsored our kids and staff to take part in runs along with thousands of other people from all walks of life.
Our kids are running with business people, diplomats, students and people of all ages from many countries.
When they are running, the kids are the same as everyone else. They do not have the same experience as other runners, but we have trainings every Sunday and some kids run in their own time as well. We’ve been fortunate to have running gear donated by friends so the kids have proper shoes – and that is really all we need.
At Vietnam Trail Marathon this year, 40 kids and 10 staffs were with me in Moc Chau running 10km or 21km.
On the way from Hanoi to Moc Chau, I sat with a girl who is 10 years old. She was so nervous on the bus, not knowing how she would cope in such a big crowd of strangers. But the next day, on the bus back to Hanoi, she was a different girl. She had completed her run; she even had a medal to show for it. She had achieved something great!
It is powerful to see how the kids change when they realise that they can be successful. That taste of success makes them want more. They ask themselves: If I can achieve this, what else can I do?
There are many good books about building self esteem and many courses you can take. But the best way for kids to believe in themselves is to succeed at something, no matter how big or small.