In March 2017, Gritt Richter, EMpower’s Senior Program Officer for East and Southeast Asia, traveled to Vietnam to meet EMpower’s three grantee partners based in Hanoi.
Gritt met first with grantee partner REACH which specializes in providing vocational training, career advice and job placement services for at-risk youth. The meeting was centered on a new enterprise initiative supported by EMpower – a Japanese lunch box delivery service. REACH has just launched the business operation within a trial period from February-June 2017 to test its business plan. This initiative aims to strengthen REACH’s vocational training program by linking classroom training to practical experience as well as increase financial sustainability. Working with Japanese chefs and students, REACH has developed three lunch boxes for every weekday to offer different flavors and price ranges. The first orders have been encouraging and the students are excited!
REACH has developed a beautiful logo for its new venture featuring a Koi fish, a common symbol in feng shui representing an energetic life force, demonstrated by its ability to swim against currents. Ms. Pham Thi Thanh Tam, Executive Director of REACH, told Gritt: “In offering training programs and job placement support to young people from challenging backgrounds, we are constantly going against currents, and have to prove ambition and perseverance every day, just like the Koi fish.”
Different students contribute to different aspects of the initiative i.e. some learn how to make traditional Japanese dishes like thousand layer eggs or gyozas, others come up with logo ideas, and some students develop marketing strategies to promote the program. REACH plans to go live soon with the lunch boxes on three food-related online platforms!
Gritt then visited Know One, Teach One (KOTO) which offers employment training specifically in the hospitality sector to street and at-risk youth in Hanoi. KOTO has further improved its new training center by expanding library and computer facilities for students to make their 2-year journey with KOTO even more empowering.
Lastly, Gritt met with the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, which addresses the needs of street children in Hanoi. With EMpower’s support, Blue Dragon has professionalized Project X, its anti-trafficking program that rescues, supports and reintegrates Vietnamese women trafficked in China. During the course of EMpower’s grant, rescues have increased exponentially. To date, a total of 152 victims were rescued from China and repatriated to Vietnam. In just one year the total caseload has increased by 100%, which is attributed to improved cooperation with the Chinese authorities, and the success of Project X.View All News
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