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Message from the Founder


Jimmy Pham AM

KOTO Founder and CEO

2019 represents a very important milestone for KOTO, our 20th Anniversary.

I am humbled that my desire to provide 9 street children with training, a stable income and a safe workplace in a small unassuming sandwich café in Hanoi has evolved and grown over the last twenty years. Thanks to the support of our donors, sponsors, partners, volunteers and staff, KOTO has now provided almost 1,000 disadvantaged and at-risk youth with an opportunity to improve their lives, their families and often their community.

KOTO has evolved since the early days, but I'm pleased to say our philosophy remains prominent in everything we do. KOTO stands for "Know One, Teach One”, and it reflects our belief that if you're in a position where you can help someone less fortunate, then you should help them; and the greatest thanks you can receive is to one day see that person be in a position to do the same for someone else.

I am honoured to find our alumni in every leading hotel and restaurant across the length and breadth of Vietnam. Many alumni are now running their own businesses and providing internship opportunities for KOTO trainees and employing KOTO graduates themselves. With their Australian Box Hill Institute qualification, many have been awarded scholarships to continue their studies in Australia and several are working in Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Singapore. I am especially proud when our alumni return to work at the KOTO Training Centre and our restaurants in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to enrich the lives of our trainees and encourage them to also dream large.

KOTO staff and volunteers are privileged to see the trainees transform from timid, shy teenagers into young, confident adults who are not only sought-after hospitality professionals, but also well-rounded, responsible community-minded citizens, ready to embrace any challenges that lie ahead. Experiencing this growth is thanks enough for our hard work.


Despite the considerable economic growth experienced in Vietnam over the last twenty years, the need for KOTO remains strong and fortunately the demand for well-trained hospitality professionals continues to grow. It's exciting to see the KOTO story being written day by day, and I look forward to the day that KOTO has the funds to build our Dream School and is financially self-sustainable.
Thank you for your interest in KOTO. I hope you enjoy learning about KOTO, and that one day you meet a graduate, trainee, or staff member and experience the warmth of the KOTO family for yourself.

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