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Our3Q – KOTO, Vietnam

Luong – Marketing and Communication Executive at KOTO, one of the oldest social entreprises in Vietnam, that provides 2-year training for teenagers from at-risk or disadvantage background, teaching them hospitality skills, as well as interpersonal and life skills so they are able to come back to society and find a good job. To sustain itself KOTO runs two restaurants (in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) where the students can practise both hospitality skills and English.


Q1: What do you appreciate yourself in the business mainly for?

For impact we have on our our trainees, how much they are changing. Most of them got stuck in their life before coming to us. They didn’t know what to do. Here at KOTO they learn new skills, their life becomes more meaningful, they find new friends who support them. Sometimes I’m surprised how close they are to each other. Almost 100% of them after finishing our course find the job. We support those who have difficulties in that step.


Q2: What is the biggest challenge/ obstacle for you now?

There are two things. One is that although KOTO is already quite well recognized abroad, especially in Australia, there are still not many Vietnamese who know and appreciate our work. We would like to change it. A second challenge is to become fully sustainable, independent from donations. We want to stand on our own feet and generate all necessary income just from our restaurants.


Q3: What advice do you have for yourself in this situation?

Considering sustainability – we are already on the good path: most of our income is generated from the restaurants. Recently, we moved our restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City to a new place. Now, we need to stabilize it so hopefully, it will be enough to support other KOTO activities. I hope this will help us to invite more Vietnamese people to our restaurants, where they can see and understand what we do for our society.


Would you like to add something more?

I just want to mention the meaning of our name, which in fact is also our philosophy: Know One, Teach One. If you know something, share it! Don’t keep it for yourself. We try to teach our trainees to share both: feelings and knowledge. If you know how to say one word in English, teach others, too. Sharing makes our life more meaningful.


The questions were asked on our behalf by Anna and Andrea from How to (ex) change the world.


Hanoi, Vietnam, 3rd November, 2015

ID: 008/100


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