Barnardos Australia Program Manager, Thang Do, has been featured in a new short film for ABC Open’s “Unsung Heroes” series.

The short film entitled, "Giving refugee youth a chance” was made by talented young film maker, Mihaal Zaniger.

It centres on an interview with Thang Do, Barnardos Australia Program Manager, about his lifelong dedication and commitment to helping disadvantaged and displaced young people.

Thang was himself a Vietnamese refugee and in the film he describes his experiences as a “boat person” and being in a “refugee camp”.  Thang worked hard on his education and went on to study social welfare at university.

Thang came to Barnardos as a student to do his placement more than 25 years ago and never left.

His love of working with young people is apparent in the film, with him displaying a gentle determination to get the best out of those from with some of the most difficult backgrounds imaginable.

Thang relates the situation of young people who arrive as refugees, often with no formal education or training, who have a lot to offer society if they given the chance.

It is this chance that Thang has given to countless young people who have come through Kingston House and Barnardos programs over the years.

Thang’s philosophy centres around the observation that a child or young person behaves as a result of what they have learnt from their family. His aim, and the aim of his team at Kingston House, is to get them to unlearn the bad stuff and instead learn the right way to behave. But he points out, that's not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight.

“These young people have been through so much, they have been abused so much – they don’t trust anyone. They don’t trust authority.”
Thang explains that every young person is different – and he needs to “tune in” to their wavelength in order to communicate with them and get them to a point where they will trust you and accept help.

Thang describes the positive changes he has seen in so many young people – simply because someone believed in them and didn’t give up on them.

Thang finishes the film with a wonderful illustration of his point, describing how these young people have had to work harder than the average young person to achieve small things we perhaps take for granted.

“A lot of people make nothing out of something. But a lot of our young people have made something out of nothing.”

 You can view the film on ABC Open.