This film is part of Free

Vietnamese Children Refugees

6,000 miles from home, after a perilous voyage to escape terror and oppression, five child refugees from Vietnam experience the magic of a British Christmas.

News 1978 5 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Media Archive for Central England


Birmingham is a very long way from South Vietnam but it's not just distance that is being bridged here but a cultural and language gulf that will take time and understanding. Luckily, children are ever adaptable to new surroundings and experiences and are making the most of their new life as is vividly depicted on the face of the boy ripping open his present with joy and an infectious enthusiasm that is universal.

These five children seen in a Birmingham department store at Christmas in 1978 are amongst those that survived the dangerous sea crossing to escape from the turmoil that gripped Vietnam following the Communist take-over. The mass migration continued for many years but 1978 and 1979 was the peak of the exodus. It only reduced when the UN negotiated the 'Orderly Departure Program' with the Vietnamese government making it easier for people to leave the country legally.