KOTO, which was founded by Vietnamese-Australian Jimmy Pham and stands for Know One Teach One, provides at-risk and disadvantaged Vietnamese youth with two-year training programs accredited by Melbourne’s Box Hill Institute with the goal to “end the cycle of poverty”.
“To find a business that we can work with that aligns with our values and vision is really hard”
International partnership and engagement manager Huong Dang said the partnership with The PIE was a significant step forward for KOTO, as it seeks to increase its global partners.
“When The PIE offered us to be the charity partner, I was overwhelmed, I was so excited,” she said.
“I try to bring KOTO to different countries to promote the organisation and the work we do. To find a business that we can work with that aligns with our values and vision is really hard.”
Founded in 1999, KOTO originated as a sandwich shop and has since trained over 1,000 students and expanded to two training restaurants in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city, which generate revenue for the foundation.
A former student of the organisation, Dang said she returned to the foundation after completing a masters of entrepreneurship and innovation to help other disadvantaged youth.
“I studied in KOTO in 2006 and graduated in 2007. I went to work at a five-star hotel in Hanoi and I came back to KOTO as part of my returning the favour to the organisation that changed my life,” she said.
Speaking with The PIE News during the Asia Pacific Association of International Education conference in Singapore, Dang said KOTO would continue seeking partners around the world to help the disadvantaged access education and training.
“We are very proud to be part of APAIE. It means a lot to us; we are in the social-enterprise sector but also the education sector, so for KOTO to be here means we can introduce our model to other [potential] partners.”
The PIE’s co-founder and managing director Amy Baker said she was delighted to have the foundation join the PIEoneer Awards.
“We strongly believe education is a human right that can transform lives,” she said.
“KOTO epitomises how one act can have a significant impact on those around you, and The PIE is happy to be a part of their journey.”
Applications for the PIEoneer Awards close on 9 May. To apply or purchase tickets visit the PIEoneer Awards website.