Hanoi helps to get out of poverty with the philosophy of “Know One, Teach One”
Hanoi, Vietnam, is now one of the top tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, with nearly 7.5 million tourists visiting in the first three months of 2019 alone. In the tourism industry in Hanoi, with taking a step further from general services, the concept of “hospitality,” which considers giving pleasure to tourists as important, has come to be emphasized in recent years. Based on this situation, various companies have begun to focus on recruiting talents who are familiar with hospitality.
Now, a hospitality training center called “KOTO” is attracting attention in Hanoi. It provides a two-year vocational program on hospitality for poor youth between the ages of 16 to help them go on to work in restaurants, hotels, and cafes. KOTO stands for “Know One, Teach One” and expresses the philosophy that “Learning should be passed on; knowledge is meant to be shared.”
KOTO was founded by Vietnamese-Australian, Jimmy Pham. He was interested in tourism and travel when he was a student and studied hospitality at university. After graduating from an Australian university, he traveled to Saigon, Vietnam, met some “street kids.” When Mr. Pham asked some of these young people “what do you want out of life?” they simply replied, “We need skills so we can find stable jobs.” The conversation at that time led to him going to Vietnam to find a way to make a change, and 20 years ago, he launched KOTO, a hospitality training center, in Hanoi.
KOTO offers at-risk youth with the opportunity to learn and thrive in their lives. The purpose of KOTO is to end the cycle of poverty by empowering the targeted youth and helping them to forge a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. Currently, KOTO has provided educational opportunities over 700 young people at training centers in Hanoi and Saigon as a social company. In addition to the Foundation sector that raises funds, KOTO also operates a restaurant business. It serves as a platform for real-life hospitality training and also a source of income to support the training and welfare of the students.
In an interview with CNN, Thao Nguyen, the general manager of KOTO said, “The philosophy of KOTO is if you know one, you should teach one. We teach our trainees how to get something and, if they are successful in the future, encourage them to teach others how to get something as well.” “Giving back doesn’t mean that you give someone a meal or money. It means that you teach someone a skill so that they can have a sustainable life for a lifetime.” This is exactly the concept of sustainability.