Training Hanoi Street Children
March 11, 2005 5:57 AM   Subscribe

KOTO is a charity training restaurant for street children set up in 1996 in Hanoi, Vietnam by Vietnamese-Australian Jimmy Pham (pdf file).
Of the more than 100 or so former street kids who have learned cooking, waiting and bar skills, 100% of KOTO graduates have since become employed in hotels and restaurants in Hanoi.
KOTO stands for Know One Teach One and they provide uniforms, accomodation, most meals and a small wage during the traineeship.
Even Bill Clinton ate there.
Street children number something in the order of 20,000 or more in Vietnam and most head to the city from poor villages in the countryside, seeking their own slice of the wealth that transition to a market economy is said to generate. Most make little money shining shoes and selling postcards and many become involved in drugs, crime, prostitution or are harassed and arrested by the Police.
Hoa Sua restaurant is another exemplary training enterprise (French affiliation) run along similar lines to KOTO excepting that they also have bakery outlets and embroidery training.
These organizations are hopeful examples of education combatting the cycle of poverty.
(Aside: but no contribution to the Vietnamese economy will be forthcoming from U.S. chemical companies who supplied agent orange during the war)
posted by peacay (11 comments total)
There is no way you are going to get awarded compensation for being injured by an opposing party in a war.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 6:10 AM on March 11, 2005

Interesting links, shame about the afterthought editorializing that is sure to get them ignored.
posted by darukaru at 6:17 AM on March 11, 2005

Ahh, how this FPP would have benefitted from a [more inside]...perhaps right after the second or third lines...
posted by tpl1212 at 7:10 AM on March 11, 2005

Great post, but definitely a candidate for [more inside] and DaruKaru makes a good point about the editorializing. Thanks for the interesting story/links Peacay!
posted by shoepal at 7:44 AM on March 11, 2005

There's no opinion expressed - it's just a statement of fact. The agent O stuff happened to have come up today was all - arguably it's too far off topic but people will read or not read whichever of the links they want.
Yeah...yeah.........forgot the [m i ] bit. Such is time.. next time...
posted by peacay at 9:05 AM on March 11, 2005

I have to say the Aside does taint your post with an aura of blame - even if you were just supplying further facts.

posted by guruguy9 at 9:14 AM on March 11, 2005

I visited the KOTO restaurant when I was in Hanoi a few years ago. Definitely a great group with a great cause. If you're ever out that way, stop for lunch. They're in the center of the city, not far from the train station and some of the main budget hotels.

posted by Jeebus at 11:03 AM on March 11, 2005

I just joined metafilter, specifically to post for this thread. My wife and I visited VietNam in 2003, and had the pleasure of dining several times at KOTO, and HoaSua in Hanoi as well as Sapa.

The experience was memorable, the food delightful, and I can't say enough about the young people we got to know.

Please make a point to visit if you ever visit VN. Great cause, and visible results.
posted by placebo_addict at 11:25 AM on March 11, 2005

I had dinner at Hoa Sua twice when in Hanoi last spring. The first time, there were one or two (copiously apologized-for) service mishaps, which were forgiven and forgotten as soon as the excellent food arrived. We actually canceled other plans later in the week in order to enjoy their porc au caramel for a second time. We didn't visit KOTO, and if it's anything like Hoa Sua, I regret that we didn't know about it -- but now that I do, it'll be added to my (already extensive) list of excuses to go back to Viet Nam. Thanks.
posted by alsorises at 11:41 AM on March 11, 2005

For those interested in supporting KOTO, they are still running their fundraising drive that allows you to buy a brick for their new premises and have your name put on it for $50 (and I believe that is Australian dollars). You can check it out here.
posted by AnnaRat at 12:03 PM on March 11, 2005

There is a weblog by a volunteer Brit who is working at KOTO for 2 years. Definitely worth a read if you're interested.
posted by peacay at 5:50 AM on March 14, 2005

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