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This article is about the charitable organisation. For other uses, see KOTO (disambiguation).

KOTO logo

KOTO is a not-for-profit social enterprise divided into two units: KOTO Foundation and KOTO Enterprise.

KOTO Foundation operates a vocational training programme with training centers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Certified by the renowned Box Hill Institute [1] in Australia, KOTO Foundation provides youth with a two-year training program in hospitality at its training centres. The training equips youth with professional capacity, to prepare them for opportunities to work in hotels and restaurants. They are taught a range of social and life-skills to complement the vocational education. Every six months KOTO recruits up to 30 youth, aged 16-22, from at-risk or disadvantaged backgrounds, following recommendation from a network of sources, including individuals, local orphanages or other organisations dealing with poverty, trafficking, physical abuse, alcoholism and other addictions.

KOTO Enterprise reflects the organisation’s social enterprise business model, and is a means to generate income to support the operational costs of KOTO as a whole to improve KOTO’s capacity and sustainability. KOTO Enterprise comprises restaurants, catering services, online bakery and cooking classes. The idea was to create a self-sustaining system, so that KOTO can rely on its own resources and become less dependent on external funding.

History KOTO is a pioneer in the social enterprise model in Vietnam, and is has shared its model to other organizations in the world, such as STREAT. [2] KOTO was started in 1996 by an Australian of Korean-Vietnamese origin[3] Jimmy Pham. He asked street children what they needed to make a start in life, and their answer was "we need skills so we can find stable jobs".

The name of the organisation comes from the phrase "Know One, Teach One", part of a quote by its founder:

"The greatest accomplishment for the person who has helped you, is to see you stand on your own two feet and then in turn help someone else that reminds you of yourself, because if you Know One, then you should Teach One."[4]

By 2008, the KOTO Training Restaurant in Hanoi had become a top tourist destination. KOTO has expanded and opened a KOTO Training Restaurant and Training Centre in Ho Chi Minh City.[4] KOTO's operation was featured in a BBC documentary film.[5]

At-risk and disadvantaged youth participating in the KOTO Training Program study hospitality skills, the English language, and essential life skills. The practical skills are gained at KOTO Training Restaurants.[6]

After such education many of the young staff are invited to work in top hotels and restaurants in Hanoi.[7]


  1. ^ http://www.bhtafe.edu.au/about/Pages/Community-involvement.aspx
  2. ^ https://www.streat.com.au/about/our-story
  3. ^ Know One, Teach One, Christopher R. Cox, April 2010, Reader's Digest
  4. ^ a b NY Times Travel Guide, Asia, Vietnam, Hanoi, Where to eat, KOTO, Frommer's Review, Frommer's Vietnam, 3rd Edition
  5. ^ "KOTO - training Hanoi street kids in restaurant skills", "Profitable Hospitality" web-site
  6. ^ "Know One, Teach One", Jimmy Pham, CNN News, March 2007
  7. ^ Street Voices Organization

This article is related to the List of non-governmental organizations in Vietnam.