Know One, Teach One
Empowering at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam through its holistic hospitality training program.
Since 2011, THE-ICE has committed to sponsoring young individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds in Vietnam, to complete KOTO’s 24-month hospitality traineeship programme. This traineeship equips young Vietnamese adults (16 – 22 years old) 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. A place where they can develop into confident young adults.
Meet KOTO Student: Ly Thi Sung
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.
How you can help
Buy a Brick – Build a new HOME
90% of KOTO’s patronage comes from the international tourism sector, and the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a shift in location for the KOTO training restaurant. KOTO is moving to a new location, and the continuation of their business operations is crucial to ensure that trainees are accommodated, fed, and cared for, and that KOTO staff remain employed. KOTO aims to raise USD $40,000 to help renovate the new restaurant.
With a donation from individuals (USD $100) and corporations (USD $500), which are tax deductible to Australian, United States, and United Kingdom taxpayers, building bricks can be purchased for KOTO’s new training restaurant. The bricks will be inscribed with your name or message an included on the Dream Builders Wall located in the new KOTO training restaurant in Hanoi. The remainder of your donation will go directly to helping build and maintain KOTO’s training program.
KOTO Dream Ride
The KOTO Dream Ride has been an annual fundraising event since 2002. All proceeds from the event are put towards supporting the continued work of providing a brighter future for at-risk and disadvantaged youth, through the KOTO vocational education and training program.
Initially a 55km or 25km ride through a variety of stunning Northern Vietnam landscapes, KOTO is partnering with Intrepid in 2020 to launch a global virtual event, with riders choosing their own route to ride anywhere in the world. Riders can create an individual or team page on the Raisley platform, set a target, and raise funds within their network, with every donation displayed on the website.
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.
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.
Born in Ho Chi Minh City and raised in Australia from when he was two years old, Jimmy Pham returned to Vietnam in 1996 aged 23. Shocked by the number of young homeless, a chance meeting with four street kids changed everything for Jimmy, who had studied tourism in Sydney and had been working as a travel agent in Melbourne. 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.
For more information about KOTO, please visit their website.