THE-ICE is pleased to introduce KOTO student Ly Thi Sung, a young woman from Vietnam who THE-ICE is supporting to undertake 24 months of holistic hospitality training, through the KOTO trainee sponsorship programme.
Since 2011, THE-ICE has committed to sponsoring disadvantaged and at-risk young people in Vietnam through KOTO’s traineeship programme. This two-year traineeship equips young adults with hospitality training, English language and life skills, as well as providing food, healthcare, and accommodation in a family environment where they feel safe, happy, and cared for. KOTO provides a place where these young people develop into confident young adults, ending the cycle of poverty and empowering them to realise their dreams.
THE-ICE is proud to sponsor 17-year-old Ly Thi Sung on her journey through the KOTO hospitality traineeship programme, where she will study to become a waitress or bartender/barista professional. Through THE-ICE sponsorship, Sung will have access to accommodation, ongoing health care, vaccinations, uniforms, laundry, meals, and a monthly training allowance. Sung is proudly Hmong from a town bordering China in Cao Bang province, northern Vietnam, and left school after finishing Grade 9 to help in the field. Sung prides herself on her focus and punctuality, and enjoys listening to music and studying English in her free time. Read more of Sung’s story here.
KOTO is a not-for-profit social enterprise that empowers at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam through its holistic hospitality training program. KOTO’s mantra – Know One, Teach One – reflects the belief that if you’re in a position where you can help someone less fortunate than yourself, then you should help them.
“THE-ICE is proud to have supported KOTO for a number of years now,” said Dr Craig Thompson, CEO of THE-ICE. “Being an international organisation promoting quality enhancement in tourism and hospitality education, it is appropriate for THE-ICE to help those in most need to be part of and benefit from this wonderful sector.”
KOTO accepts youths who are mostly orphaned, homeless or poor, from both the city and rural communities. In Hanoi alone, it is estimated that there are some 19,000 young people living on the streets. With multi-locations in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, KOTO utilises their 200-trainee capacity training centres to support youths and teach hospitality (either Front of House or Commercial Cookery), English language, and life skills, such as personal hygiene and money management.
KOTO’s founder, Jimmy Pham was Born in Ho Chi Minh City and raised in Australia from when he was two years old, returning to Vietnam in 1996 aged 23. Shocked by the number of young homeless, a chance meeting with four street kids changed everything for Jimmy. Jimmy’s determination to support these disadvantaged youths resulted in KOTO being established in 2000 and its continued growth since.
Every six months, KOTO recruits up to 30 young people from the streets, between the ages of 16-22. The new trainees are recruited following recommendations from a wide network of sources, including individuals, local orphanages or other organisations dealing with poverty, trafficking, physical abuse, alcoholism and other addictions. The training is hard at times, but the trainees’ journey is an amazing one: they can experience their transformation from being abandoned, neglected, insecure young individuals with low self-esteem to empowered, knowledgeable and optimistic young men and women. Vocational training is the key to a sustainable future for street kids and disadvantaged youth throughout the world. It is a model based on not only providing youth with training and jobs, but also by providing them with valuable life skills to ensure they can contribute to their community.