The 2017 POSCO TJ Park Prize for Community Development & Philanthropy has been awarded to Mr. Jimmy Pham – KOTO Founder - in recognition of his significant contribution to disadvantaged youth in Vietnam.
On March 29, Mr. Pham will be conferred with his award at a large ceremony in Seoul, Korea. – The annual POSCO TJ Park Prizes recognize individuals and organisations, which have made significant contributions in the fields of science, technology, education, and philanthropy. Mr. Pham was awarded in the Community Development & Philanthropy category.
"The selection standard of POSCO TJ Park Prize for Community Development and Philanthropy is whether the activity is creative, the system is well-established, and is sustainable. Such standard may be the biggest factor that defines the nature of Community Development and Philanthropy Award.
The committee regconised Jimmy Pham overcame his rough childhood and established a success model for the changes in lives of children in difficult situations and their independence. We believe that he established a powerful and differentiated circulation structure, which is employment and giving back to society through job training, and furthermore life skill training. In addition, by establishing a model that is financially and socially sustainable by combining business with social purpose, its social impact is quite significant in terms of its size and performance. We believe that this model may be highly applicable in Korea as well to solve the problems of adolescents and young generation in socially disadvantaged group." - said POSCO TJ Park Prize Committee for Community Development and Philanthropy
Jimmy Pham also expresses his sincere gratitude:
"The award is for all the Social Enterprises in Vietnam who like KOTO work tirelessly in contributing to a better Vietnam! I am honoured to be recognised by the Korean people and the prize money will help go towards ensuring that more at risk and disadvantaged youth are helped and KOTO becoming a sustainable and successful not-for-profit Social Enterprise. I would like to thank POSCO TJ Park for this honourable recognition”
About POSCO TJ Park Prize
The POSCO TJ Park Prize was established to commemorate the founder of the giant Korean POSCO enterprise, Tae-Joon Park. In recognizing excellence in numerous fields, the prizes mirror POSCO’s founding spirit of ‘respecting creativity, nurturing talent, and promoting philanthropy in the hope that, by doing so, people from every walk of life will be able to work together to build a better future for all mankind’. The annual prizes are awarded in the fields of science, technology, education, and philanthropy. Only recipients who have made significant, world class and enduring contributions are rewarded.
About Jimmy Pham and KOTO
Jimmy Pham, AM, was born in Vietnam in 1972 to a Vietnamese mother and a Korean father. He migrated to Sydney, Australia as a young child with his mother and 4 older siblings. His interest in tourism led him to enter the tourism management field. In 1996, he went back to Vietnam for the first time as a tour operator where he witnessed the plight of at-risk youth on the streets of Hanoi. Jimmy was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in January 2013, an honour acknowledging his significant service to the community, particularly with marginalised children and youth in Vietnam through the work of KOTO, which he founded.
KOTO is a pioneer social enterprise in Vietnam with the mission of providing vocational skills, which empower disadvantaged, and at-risk youth to find careers in hospitality thus enabling them a secure future. KOTO provides trainees with accommodation, food, an internationally recognised Australian vocational qualification, and medical care, all free of charge. KOTO has nearly 800graduates with close to 100% job placement. KOTO operates on a mixture of revenue generated from its leading commercial restaurants, where trainees receive their on-the-job training, and donations. It is a mature social enterprise well on the journey to full sustainability. This is a very significant record of achievement.