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KOTO celebrates 20 years!

2019, is a very important milestone for KOTO – Know One, Teach One.  We are celebrating our 20th Anniversary! Little did I know in 1999 that KOTO would have provided opportunities to almost 1,000 disadvantaged and at-risk youth in Vietnam 20 years later.


When I opened a humble sandwich shop in 1999 with nine street kids and 2 volunteers, I never would have dreamed that we would have had the opportunity to serve over 1 million guests including dignitaries such as President Bill Clinton, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to name a few. 


Most importantly, it is a privilege to have positively impacted on so many lives over the last 20 years. I’m both humbled and proud that 1,000 young Vietnamese have graduated from our 24-month internationally accredited hospitality program, transforming their lives, their families and often their community.


To mark this occasion, 1,000 alumni, volunteers, and supporters along with almost 90 graduating students and their families will come to Hanoi to participate in the gala celebrations. 


KOTO continues to be recognised as a dynamic organization producing well-trained graduates who are highly sought after by the tourism and hospitality industry, both within Vietnam and abroad. KOTO alumni work across the world in leading resorts, hotels, and restaurants and many have also started their own hospitality and tourism businesses and are employing KOTO graduates themselves.  A number of our graduates have received scholarships to further their studies in Australia.


“Training as well as living and medical costs do not come cheaply however and we are very grateful to our many supporters who have shared our vision for the last 20 years. Despite the continued success of the KOTO restaurants in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, KOTO relies on its sponsors and donors to cover approximately 40% of the training costs. I would like to acknowledge and honour the contributions made by each and every partner, donor, sponsor, volunteer, staff member, restaurant patron, alumni and of course our trainees for their dedication, enthusiasm and commitment to the KOTO philosophy over the last 20 years.


KOTO’s 20th anniversary celebrations include professional development workshops for alumni and staff hosted by the British Council and RMIT University Vietnam, a friendly football match against UNIS Hanoi, a function for former and current volunteers hosted by the Australian Ambassador as well as a dinner for 200 alumni at the Pullman Hanoi Hotel.  The finale is the 20thAnniversary and Graduation ceremony featuring performances by Mỹ Tâm, Trọng Khương, Quách Beem, Noo Phước Thịnh, John Huy Tran and a number of other high-profile Vietnamese performers hosted at the National Economics University. 


Thank you for supporting KOTO. We hope you will continue to support KOTO as there are still many more youth in Vietnam who need our help and the opportunities that KOTO delivers. We have exciting plans for the next twenty years at KOTO and need your support to realise the dreams of the next 1,000 disadvantaged and at-risk youth in Vietnam.


Jimmy Pham

KOTO Founder/Executive Chairman

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