Know One, Teach One (KOTO)
Context: The problem of street children in Vietnam is one of the most pressing problems in the country today, especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Children and youth end up on the street for different reasons. Some have escaped from broken families or domestic violence, while for others street life is a means of earning income for their families. In addition, the breakdown of traditional family values and community structures leaves them without necessary care and support for their growth and development. Street children do not have the full knowledge of their rights, often are unaware of the risks in urban life, and are vulnerable to all forms of exploitation and abuse. Girls in particular are often in danger of being targeted for sexual exploitation. Although visible on the streets, they are also among the most ‘invisible’ and therefore hardest children to reach with services such as education or healthcare, and the most difficult to protect.
Organization: In 1998, a Vietnamese-Australian set up a not-for-profit called Street Voices working with street children. In 2007, Street Voices was renamed in KOTO “Know one, teach one”, underlying that knowledge is meant to be shared. KOTO’s mission is that street and at-risk youth should have access to holistic and vocational skills development. KOTO has grown today to the KOTO Foundation and the KOTO Social Enterprise. The KOTO Foundation, extending from Australia to Vietnam, is providing at-risk youth with a two-year residential training program in hospitality at training centres in Hanoi and HCMC combining vocational skills with personal development (e.g. healthy living, financial literacy, sex education, and English language). The KOTO Social Enterprise is a means to generate income supporting KOTO to improve its capacity to train more at-risk students.
Current Grant: EMpower’s 4th grant to KOTO provides operational support to fund critical elements of their strategic planning for the next 2 years such as staff and leadership development and improvement of staff appraisal and program monitoring and evaluations.