WHO ARE WE?
KOTO is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2019 and is proud of its almost 1,000 graduates who are leading productive lives. In 2016, KOTO became the first legally registered entity operating as a social enterprise in Vietnam, after eagerly sought changes to the national law on Enterprises were adopted.
To support KOTO in Vietnam, KOTO International Limited, a registered not-for-profit charity in Australia, was established. KOTO International holds fundraising events in Australia, and raises the profile of at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. KOTO International’s philosophy is to continue to develop a support base, from which we are able to gain sponsorships and donations, both personal and corporate, to fund ongoing KOTO projects for the future sustainability of KOTO in Vietnam and in other locations, worldwide.
The founder, Jimmy Pham, and KOTO have hosted many visiting foreign dignitaries to Vietnam including President Bill Clinton (2000), Queen Margrethe of Denmark (2009), Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (2012) and the Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key (2015).
KOTO has also been featured and profiled across numerous media platforms, including in Australia (ABC), South Korea (KBS and MBC), Switzerland (Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen), the United Kingdom (BBC) and the United States (PBS and the New York Times) and Vietnam (VTV).
International Recognition includes:
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), along with EMpower and the Lorinet Foundation, through the "Her Turn: Women's Economic Empowerment Project in Vietnam"; have funded KOTO to provide vocational and/or entrepreneurial skills training to rural and/or ethnic minority women from 2018-2021;
Received the POSCO TJ Park Prize, the second largest and most prestigious award in South Korea, under the Community Development and Philanthropy category in 2017;
Awarded the Overseas Applied Research Fellowship with the International Specialized Skills Institute (ISSI) in 2016;
Jimmy Pham appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), an honor acknowledging his significant service to the community, particularly with marginalized children and youth in Vietnam in 2013;
Presented the UNICEF Vietnam ZEROaward in 2013;
Finalist for the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy’s Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award in 2013;
Acknowledged as Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011;
Finalist, Swabb Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year, 2009.
About KOTO International
KOTO International Limited is a not-for-profit organisation in Australia that supports KOTO Foundation in Vietnam. KOTO International holds fundraising events in Australia, and raises the profile of at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. KOTO International’s philosophy is to continue to develop a support base, from which we are able to gain sponsorships and donations, both personal and corporate, to fund ongoing KOTO projects for the future sustainability of KOTO in Vietnam and in other locations, worldwide.
KOTO International Directors
KOTO International is managed in Australia by a board of directors — a dedicated team of men and women who have experienced for themselves how KOTO changes lives.
Tina Conroy has 35 years experience with the Victorian Education Department. She was awarded a year-long International Teaching Fellowship to the USA, and a Teacher Release in Industry Program (TRIP) 12-month placement to Parks, Victoria. She has an in-depth understanding of the power of education to change lives. Tina joined the Board of KOTO International in 2014, after a long association with KOTO which included volunteering as an English teacher in Hanoi in 2012.
Warwick Freeland joined the KOTO International board in March 2016. He is the Chief Strategy Officer and Managing Director IELTS, IDP Education. Warwick has 30 years of experience running considerable international operations for large companies, governments and start-ups. He has qualifications in Engineering and Marketing, and has won export and innovation awards in Australia and Germany.
Rhys Williams has been a KOTO supporter and sponsor for many years. Rhys has worked in international education with Victoria, RMIT Universities and Box Hill Institute, and sees daily the transformative power of education. Rhys is committed to growing the sponsor base in Australia to assist KOTO provide life-changing experiences for Trainees.
Rashima was born in the northern part of India. After completing her education in India, she had the opportunity of working internationally in various countries. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant both in India and Australia. She believes that one of the most effective ways of improving a person’s life is through education and hopes to make a real difference through her contribution.
Ruth is an experienced strategic marketing consultant and facilitator. Working with a broad range of corporate, government and not-for-profit organizations, Ruth uses empathy and creative thinking to find solutions and create value.
Ruth is passionate about sharing knowledge and helping people build theirs so they can build a better life, the very principle that KOTO is founded on. She has a genuine interest in social enterprise and creating positive social change. Joining the KOTO International board is an opportunity for Ruth to bring her knowledge, experience, and energy to creating just that. Ruth is an active supporter of KOTO and proud KOTO Trainee sponsor.
Trieu Le is from Vinh Phuc, Vietnam. Born into a poor farming with three other siblings, his mother was killed in a traffic accident and father passed away due to alcohol abuse. "Fortunately, my life had a turning point when I was accepted into the KOTO training program. KOTO has changed my life completely. KOTO has not only taught me hospitality skills, English and valuable lessons to be a responsible adult but also provided a second family. I have changed physically and emotionally into much more mature and motivated person. I was also very honoured to work for KOTO for few years during my time in Vietnam after my KOTO graduation. It is a way of passing on knowledge as KOTO’s philosophy: “Know One Teach One” I was even luckier to have a scholarship via KOTO to continue my studies in Australia. Before knowing KOTO, I had never dreamed of one day I, a devastated and disoriented boy like me, could live in Australia and work as a Hotel General Manager. I can never thank KOTO, Mr Jimmy Pham and everyone involved in the program enough. It would be an honour to continue supporting KOTO in anyway that I can.’
Ha is a director of Guests Accounting, an accounting practice in Melbourne. Having worked for a number of ASX Listed companies before joining Guests, she possesses robust technical skills in management accounting, together with in-depth knowledge in public practice as a tax specialist and a business advisor. Ha is also actively involved with CPA Australia Public Practice Committee, and regularly speaks and lectures at Monash and Latrobe Universities. A firm believer in the importance of education and its social values, Ha is committed to utilising her skills and experience to contribute to the development of KOTO.