Vietnam’s first social enterprise, KOTO is celebrating 20 years in Vietnam helping disadvantaged children become educated and confident.
To celebrate the organisation’s milestone anniversary, KOTO collaborated with RMIT Vietnam to organise a series of practical skills workshops for 100 KOTO alumni.
Founded in 1999 by Jimmy Pham, KOTO came from humble beginnings in a sandwich shop near the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, with only nine children and two volunteers. Today, the organisation has welcomed over one million guests, employs a team of 120 full time staff (including 60 KOTO alumni) and provides an Australian-accredited training course to almost 140 disadvantaged and at-risk youths every year.
“The anniversary celebration is a chance to look back, to look around, and to look forward into the future of Vietnamese hospitality,” Mr Pham said.
As a long-term supporter of KOTO, RMIT Vietnam helped to organise a workshop series to celebrate KOTO’s success and mark the occasion.
The series focused on three main topics: career planning and goal setting, study pathways, and wellbeing – how to stay balanced.
KOTO alumni gained practical tips and insights into how to equip themselves with skills to develop their future career.
KOTO General Director and guest speaker Thao Nguyen, shared her inspirational story at one of the workshops.
Ms Thao was a 13-year-old street girl from a disadvantaged background when she first arrived at KOTO. After years of tireless efforts and an enthusiasm to learn, she was awarded two valuable scholarships to study in Australia, including a Master of Business Administration scholarship from RMIT University in Melbourne.
KOTO student Do Thi Duy Nhat shared her thoughts after attending the workshop.
“In Vietnam, it is widely believed that married women should shift away from studying. However, this seminar changed my mind and helped me realise that even when I'm busy with housework and kids, continuing to devote myself to my study and career is still important.”
Head of RMIT Vietnam’s Hanoi campus Phillip Dowler emphasised the importance of the cooperation between RMIT and KOTO, to honour their passion to help young people and to improve the quality of labour in Vietnam.
“By co-organising these six workshops, RMIT wants to create opportunities for the experienced to share and exchange valuable lessons of pursuing passion and perseverance to young people, especially to KOTO alumni,” Mr Dowler said.
Supporting the youth and enhancing the quality of human resources in Vietnam is RMIT and KOTO’s shared mission. RMIT has vowed to continue their support for KOTO’s cause for years to come.
Story: Doan Thanh Van