Jimmy Pham, a Vietnamese Australian, witnessed the plight of at-risk youth on the streets of Hanoi in 1996 and KOTO was born. In 2019, KOTO is celebrating its 20th Anniversary and most importantly the transformation of the lives of almost 1,000 disadvantaged and at-risk youth in Vietnam.
From humble beginnings as a sandwich stall manned by nine street youth in 1999, KOTO has grown to be an internationally recognized and award-winning not-for-profit social enterprise, providing a 24-month intensive internationally-accredited vocational training program in hospitality training, crucial life skills and English language for approximately 200 at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. Twenty years later, Jimmy continues to be involved, knowing the story of every single trainee that has been or is going through the KOTO program!
In 2018, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through the ‘Her Turn: Women’s Economic Empowerment Project in Vietnam’ funded KOTO to provide vocational and/or entrepreneurial skills training to rural and/or ethnic minority women. In addition, a number of KOTO female alumni will receive in-depth women’s leadership and entrepreneurial skills training.
Jimmy’s Personal Highlights
- POSCO TJ Park Prize, the second largest and most prestigious award in South Korea, under the Community Development and Philanthropy category in 2017;
- 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;
- Acknowledged as Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011;
- Finalist, Swabb Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year, 2009.
Jimmy is currently completing his EMBA on a scholarship awarded by the AusCham Vietnam chapter. He is expected to complete his studies in 2019.