Restaurants Help Poor Youth in Vietnam

December 2, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. charity (n.) [char-i-tee] – [organization] group who helps poor or sick people
Example: The charity receives money from rich people and spends the money on poor people.

2. hospitality (n.) [hos-pi-tal-i-tee] – [industry] the business related to providing service to guests in hotels, restaurants, parks, transportation, or tourism
Example: The hospitality industry is doing well in countries that receive a lot of tourists, like Thailand.

3. self-sufficiency (n.) [self-suh-fi-shuhn-si, self-] – the ability to provide for one’s own needs
Example: Many teenagers learn about self-sufficiency when they leave their parents and go to college.

4. expand (v.) [ik-spand] – to grow bigger in size, amount, or number
Example: The shopping center expanded from one small shoe shop to a large company with 43 malls all over the country.

5. set up (v. phrase) [set-uhp] – to create or begin something
Example: The president decided to set up a new department.

Read the text below.

A charity organization and restaurant chain called KOTO is giving hope to poor youth in Vietnam.

In 1997, Jimmy Pham, a Vietnamese man who grew up in Australia, returned to Vietnam and was shocked by the poverty he saw there. At first, he gave away food and money, but he later realized that he was not doing enough to solve the problem. In 1999, he decided to create KOTO.

KOTO stands for “Know One, Teach One.” KOTO takes poor 16 to 22 year olds off the streets and teaches them skills that can help them get good jobs in the service or hospitality industry.  In addition, KOTO students are taught “life skills.” Aside from offering training in KOTO restaurants, the program includes lessons in English, personal finance, sports and sex education.

Back in 1999, Pham only had a small sandwich shop with nine teenagers. Over the years, KOTO has grown and become very popular. It now has three training centers and seven restaurants in Vietnam.

More than 500 people have graduated from KOTO since it was established. Each graduate is awarded a certificate by the Box Hill Institute of Australia.

The next step for KOTO is gaining self-sufficiency. At the moment, KOTO partly depends on donations because KOTO’s restaurants do not earn enough to provide the $10,000 needed for each student. 

Pham hopes that by expanding into other businesses, such as hotels, and setting up in other countries, KOTO can become a self-sufficient business that earns profit.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Is it a good idea for a charity organization like KOTO to to earn its own profit? Please explain your answer.
·         Tell me about a charity organization in your country. What does that charity do? How does it support itself?

Discussion B

·         One popular English saying is “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Do you agree with it?
·         What is the best way to help poor people lead better lives?


December 2, 2012