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It comes with great sadness to announce the tragic loss of Jerry Snell on the 7.18.2015. Pneumonia was declared as the official cause of death.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends, and all the many people who had the privilege of knowing Jerry.

I personally had the privilege of working with Jerry in Thailand and Vietnam and I regard him as an inspirational teacher and mentor, but more so as a friend and special kind of magical person, who, was not only the kindest, funniest, most creative, and most adventurous person I know, but also the most humble and most professional.

Jerry’s been a hero for me in his life and now he will continue to be a hero for me in my life and the lives of so many he helped and inspired.

We will miss you Jerry Snell.

HUB Chedi 3jerry pic

Canadian Initiative by Jerry Snell in collaboration with

The Ho Chi Minh Child Welfare Foundation- Ho Chi Minh City &

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation- Hanoi (implementing NGO)

A Canadian Initiative for at-risk, vulnerable and street children of Vietnam

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Please find below our request for support so that we can offer our at-risk and vulnerable children of Vietnam  experienced Hip Hop and Arts teachers on a full time basis. Your support will allow us to expand to numerous partners already expressing interest in supporting and sustaining our programs all over Vietnam.

Our work is physical, and visual, so we hope you can take the time to see these video clips, as they represent the excellent work of our participants and dynamic results with at-risk and vulnerable children all over Asia.

 

Thailand- Outreach for street children (Pattaya and THE HUB)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW7GpoSfpo8

Bangkok Street Children– THE HUB & Hip Hop

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnO_UTUPe4k

Stateless Refugees, Thai Burma Border (Arts for Empowerment)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a34eymNL58I

Tour in the Earthquake regions of Sichuan China (Supported by The Canadian Embassy- China)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3Eah2CKyn4

This proposal focuses directly on the most victimized sections of our society; abandoned and stateless children living on the streets or in isolation. Street Arts and Hip Hop also comes from the streets, and its origins helped build a community who care deeply for each other. Its work with street children brings these youth out of isolation and builds their confidence and guides them away from various dangers of living unprotected.

In the past in Ho Chi Minh City & Hanoi we have only run these programs on a volunteer, short term basis with no financial support . Our request for support from Cirque du Soleil’s Social Action and Community Relations I Global Citizenship Service would allow for the first time in Vietnam a full time Street Arts for Street Kids program. As a  full time program many of our pioneer students  will be able to learn to become teachers and possibly participate in a Cirque du Soleil training in 2014

The reputation of our interventions with youth all over Asia has resulted in the creation of a network that receives  support of Cirque du Soleil-(for Indonesia) ascassociation.wordpress.com

In the media we frequently hear about human trafficking and exploitation of women and children, but rarely hear about the on-site teams working directly with these at-risk populations. Our partner in Hanoi, Vietnam, The Blue Dragon Foundation does exactly this, every week finds and saves victims trafficked from Vietnam into factories and bordels in China. Our programs work directly with honorable associations working in Child Protection such as Childline Thailand in Bangkok, Blue Dragon Foundation, Green Bamboo Shelter, Little Rose Shelter in Vietnam and MERCY Indonesia , Yayasan Kasih Peduli Anak and Bali Kids in Indonesia.

Our proposal is based on the success of our young Hip Hop and Street Arts teachers, many who grew up in poor or disadvantaged communities working directly with at-risk and vulnerable youth. These young teachers inspire our children and teach them to have hope, as they themselves are the example that there is a way out of their isolation and more than anything, they give the children guidance, care and a safe environment for them to develop  as  children should.

Modeled after our project with Childline Thailand in Bangkok, where hip hop and arts classes are given  with daily after-school programs, weekend workshops and competitions in our youth center (The Hub) which is neighbor to slum areas and gathering areas for young prostitutes.

Our local Thai teachers are the most famous break dance (Bboy) team in Thailand “99 Flavas” , all members originating from poor families. They are dedicated, as many are in their hip hop community all over Asia to assist their disadvantaged little brothers and sisters. These teachers, given their success and reputation in Thailand, make it very easy for us to reach out to these children and show them a safe road to a new future.

Inspired by similar projects in Cambodia, Uganda and Thailand all which starts with the belief that hip hop can be used as a tool to engage and empower disadvantaged youth across the globe. Our mission is to engage young people in elements of the hip hop culture to build leadership skills and promote social responsibility. It serves to teach people break-dancing and how to pass on those skills to others, as well as promoting leadership skills, social responsibility and positive change to members and local communities.

While the children living on the street recurrently face some of the most publicized challenges day after day, countless other children and young people in the area lack access to the welfare, education and support services that many of us take for granted. The system continues to fail them, to protect their basic human rights or provide adequate support networks between government and non- government agencies. UNICEF estimates in Vietnam that there are 1,353,458 children with disabilities, nearly 300,000 children affected by HIV and AIDS with 5,704 children living with HIV, 126,248 abandoned children and orphans without care of their biological parents, 28,910 children working in hazardous conditions, more than 21,230 street children, 1,805 abused children and 21,500 children living in institutions

 

“The major problem we have found for street children is lack of self-esteem, none have any expectation in their lives and are uneducated. These are the causes of  the continuing number of street children in Thailand. And his (Jerry Snell) art project starts to make change to the children, as it is easy to participate even if they could not read and write. The immediate benefit that result by this program is preventing them from drugs and spending their time with full energies and happiness. I can see the happiness in their eyes with hope to try to make some change in themselves during the project performed last year.”

Former Project Manager The Hub, Childline Thailand Ms. Kanchalee Yosit

  • To develop awareness raising programs using our educational and artistic skills focusing on vulnerable populations, commencing with the slum communities and especially street children.
  • To provide each child with the possibility of hope, liberty and security.
  • Use performing arts, dance, acrobatics and circus as an educational tool and a way to build confidence and resolve feelings of isolation and abandon in youth cornered by complex problems such as human trafficking, war, AIDS/HIV, poverty and war.
  • Create a base of local teachers, performers and creations that can be available for assisting children in trauma or disaster or vulnerable situations all over Vietnam.
  • Establish a training program for local performing artists to assist “Youth at Risk” in rural/ urban areas.
  • Communicate and research available scholarships both local and international, both artistic and academic for children in rural/ urban areas of Vietnam
  • To use dance acrobatics, hip hop and traditional performing arts to foster leadership and a personal and social development for youth at risk, and also create performances as a means of communication and self expression
  • Create a communication link through performers and teachers living in Saigon with migrant and vulnerable Children in rural areas to avoid them becoming victim to slave labor, prostitution and human trafficking.

Theory of Change –  Hip Hop for Youth at Risk ~ From TINY TOONES in Cambodia

When low incomes, marginalized youth have access to free education and a strong support system within a creative and safe environment, it is expected that these conditions will contribute to the following changes:

  • the rate of illiteracy among youth will decrease
  • the number of at-risk youth engaging in harmful practices such as street work, drug abuse or gang involvement will decrease as a result of youth developing the ability to problem solve and foresee consequences
  • the rate of illiteracy among youth will decrease
  • the number of at‐risk youth engaging in harmful practices such as street work, drug use or gang involvement will decrease as a result of youth developing the ability to problem solve and foresee consequences
  • youth will become less susceptible to HIV/AIDS infection through knowledge and preventative behavior
  • youth can develop the vision and skills to plan for and build a bright future and lifestyle for themselves and their families
  • youth will gain self‐ confidence and motivation by developing their ability to communicate effectively using the arts
  • youth can help supplement their family’s income using their artistic talents, without having to neglect their education
  • with the support of role models, youth will learn how to be a positive influence among their peers and in their communities
  • youth can develop leadership skills and self‐ expression and achieve stronger self empowerment
  • the number of students participating in education will increase which will provide them with a range of meaningful employment opportunities

BLUE DRAGON CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION- Hanoi

Implementing NGO

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is an Australian grassroots charity that reaches out to kids in crisis throughout Vietnam. Blue Dragon kids are street kids, children with disabilities, children from very poor families and victims of human trafficking and slavery.

Blue Dragon offers a comprehensive range of services led by our dedicated team of social workers, psychologists, teachers and lawyers. We aim to break the poverty cycle by offering education and long-term opportunities to those in most need in Vietnam.

From providing food and shelter to a kid on the street to rescuing a girl from a brothel and supporting her education, we give children a new chance in life.

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is an Australian charity working in Vietnam with children in crisis. From very humble beginnings in 2003, we have grown to an organization of 64 dedicated staff supporting over 1,600 of the most vulnerable children throughout Vietnam every year.

Blue Dragon kids are street kids, children from rural families living in extreme poverty and victims of human trafficking and slavery. Our primary aim is to get kids out of danger, reunite them with their families whenever possible, and then offer support for recovery and growth. We never give up on even the most complex cases.

Blue Dragon’s innovative approach focuses on a child’s individual needs, offering a comprehensive range of services led by our team of social workers, psychologists, teachers and lawyers. Many of these services are unique to Vietnam. We have the only Legal Advocacy service for street children and trafficked youth; and we are the only organization in Vietnam that rescues trafficked children from their places of slavery.

Blue Dragon today has 64 staff and cares for over 1,500 children in Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Hue, Hoi Anh and Dien Bien Phu. In 2012, Dragon House, a new centre in Hanoi, was opened, and in 2013, two new shelters have been established. Blue Dragon is able to reach out to more kids than ever before, building on the terrific results from the past ten years:

To date, Blue Dragon has:

  • Sent 2,686 kids back to school and training
  • Provided accommodation to 153 girls and boys
  • Served 326,031 meals
  • Built or repaired 62 homes for families
  • Distributed 36,723 liters of milk
  • Handed out 43,034 kilos of rice
  • Reunited 171 runaway children with their families
  • Taken 1,121 kids to a doctor or hospital
  • Put 6 teens through drug rehab
  • Obtained legal registration papers for 2,032 children
  • Rescued 303 trafficked children
  • Placed 137 teens in jobs
  • Played 1,415 games of soccer!

By focusing on getting kids back into education, training and apprenticeships, we are working for the long-term benefit of children who otherwise would face very bleak futures. And in ten years time, we’ll still be here doing what we do best – creating opportunities for lasting change.

More details: www.bluedragon.org

Giving Vietnamese Street Kids a Chance – From CNN Heroes

See full article

These street kids come from the countryside, seeking odd end jobs such as shoe shining or selling trinkets to support themselves or their families. But this lifestyle poses a number of dangers to these children, from gang violence to child trafficking, and “the lure of a booming heroin trade”.  Blue Dragon provides the basic necessities – food, shelter, medical attention – in order to get these children off the streets.

“In Hanoi, Blue Dragon’s center offers food, clothing, classrooms, play space and a computer lab. There is also bed space for 20 in the group’s nearby shelter. Each child who comes through the center is provided with a dedicated social worker and has access to a psychologist, counselors, teachers and lawyers.”

Blue Dragon has helped over 2,500 children to date. Talk about inspiring – Brosowski left his job to devote himself to the foundation. In 2005, Blue Dragon’s mission expanded to include rescuing victims of child trafficking and finding ways to permanently disrupt trafficking rings altogether. His staff of 44 includes several of those whom the foundation has helped in the past.

Upon hearing of Michael Brosowski and his dedication to the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, I think most people would tell you that he’s deserving of his accolades and that we need more caring and competent people like him. But, as we all know, the Internet is filled with ogres hiding away in the murky corners of the World Wide Web, emerging only to release their stench on anything remotely positive.

If you skimmed through the CNN article page right after it was first published, you might have noticed a number of comments (since deleted) criticizing Blue Dragon and its founder and insinuating that Vietnam is undeserving of Brosowski’s efforts. It’s a wonder what these naysayers are doing on the CNN site at all – isn’t the purpose of the news to inform and educate? If they actually are reading and absorbing the news, the blatant ignorance displayed in their comments sure proves otherwise.

Some readers had the nerve to ask why the foundation wasn’t helping American children “back home” instead. Unless these readers are under the illusion that “Australia” is a synonym for “America,” I think it’s safe to assume that those commentators didn’t even read the article in its entirety. Thankfully, CNN user ruckuz caught the error and called out the ignorance: “Some comments in here are [borderline] heartless. I’m an American, living in NYC and I can’t believe how our fellow American can be so selfish.”

Some other readers still think countries never change from one generation to another. Said papadek, “Vietnam killed over 51,000 Americans, and we now have international trade with this country[…] someone please help me understand this, other than the obvious,” to which pfa2010 responded, “And the deaths of Vietnamese whether civilians or soldiers were in the millions…what’s your point?”

I say, let’s take this piece on Michael Brosowski for what it is – an inspiring story on a man with a big heart, and motivation for ourselves to do good for society. No need for political debate here. I’m all for free speech and basic civil rights, but the world would be a much better place if more people on the Web recognized stories like these for what they are, like knc0305 did: “Very touching story. You are a hero to these children Michael Brosowski. No matter what country this takes place in, children around the globe deserve to get this same opportunity.”

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Under the umbrella of the HCMCA pilot workshops for Street Arts For Street Children have been given, and requests have been made for full time programs.

 

HCWA is a non governmental organization, founded by a group of volunteers who are interested in social affairs and want to dedicate their time and donations to helping vulnerable and at-risk youth in Ho Chi Minh City.

Main activities:

  • Protection, care and education of dropout and early working children in the community
  • Protection, care of disabled children and providing physical rehabilitation for disabled children to help them integrate with regular schooling and the community.
  • Protection and care of children in especially difficult circumstances (street children, early working children and sexually abused girl children).
  • Communication and Fund-raising.
  • Providing training for project officers, and developing networks of volunteers in the community.

In addition, HCWA introduced its  new initiatives as models for other organizations to follow up.

The Green Bamboo Warm Shelter is to give street boys a safe shelter home, subsidized meals, basic health care, alternative education, recreational activities, opportunities to learn a job, and finally flexible conditions so that they can go back home to integrate with their own families. In case, they can not integrate with their families, due to family problems, HCWF creates opportunities for them to integrate with the community, like: a job to live in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Little Rose Warm Shelter is for girls who are sexually abused or at risk. This initiative offers accommodation, medical treatment, health education (to increase the awareness and prevention of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases), job training and employment opportunities to girls who want to escape or be protected from prostitution. The primary objective is to help them through their emotional and psychological problems and equip them with alternative skills, so that they can regain their self-respect and be empowered to face the future with confidence, either by returning to their families or by finding a stable job and living independently.

Cau Han Project Is also located in District 7, formerly known as famous prostitution area, Cau Ha Project was born to help children and their parents in 3 wards in District 7. Main activities of Project is to organize free classes, propagate preventive awareness about HIV/AIDS, fight discrimination against HIV/AIDS people. The school teaches over 67 children from migrant families, 36 who have HIV.

Areas of fieldwork:

HCWA has a core team with well-equipped technical skills for outreaching with an aim of early intervention for children who are at-risk on the streets, dropping out of school, who have disabilities, and sexual abused.

Regarding the outreaching to girl street children:

As mentioned above, the Little Rose warm shelter is for girls who are sexually abused or at risk. This shelter is located in Tan Thuan Tay, the poorest commune in the district 7, close to an area renowned for prostitution and drugs. Many rural families fled here for protection during the war, and set up shanties.

Ever since, numerous homeless families have migrated to Tan Thuan Tay, thus increasing the high rate of unemployment in the area. Because of its favorable location on the Saigon River, near the port, but as an outskirt area, it gradually developed into a center for organized prostitution. Today, many girls under 18 are employed in brothels or are vulnerable to prostitution due to the environment in which they live.