Celebrating A Decade of Empowerment: KOTO and DER Touristik Foundation


Changing Futures Together

As the DER Touristik Foundation reaches the remarkable milestone of a decade of impactful collaborations, we are thrilled to shine a spotlight on our valued partners, and one that holds a special place in our hearts is KOTO. Celebrating over 25 years of dedication to its cause, KOTO, founded by the visionary Jimmy Pham, spans its influence from Vietnam to Australia, embodying the ethos of “Know One, Teach One.”

KOTO’s Educational Impact: Bridging Gaps and Building Futures

Situated near Hanoi, the KOTO educational facility is a safe space for young individuals aged 16 to 22, hailing from challenging backgrounds. Through a two-year program adhering to international standards, KOTO not only imparts professional skills but also opens avenues to the hospitality and tourism industry.

The impact of KOTO is reflected in inspiring statistics:

  • 93% of pupils successfully complete the training.
  • 100% secure jobs in the hotel or catering industry.
  • 50% of KOTO staff are proud alumni.
  • 40 alumni have ventured into entrepreneurship.
  • 8 alumni hold either a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Over 50 percent of the costs for the trainings are covered through the income generated by the restaurant, and the rest comes from donations. In 2023, the DER Touristik Foundation financed eight trainees in the “Her Turn” programme in 2023, covering all costs for accommodation, meals, medical care, pocket money as well as uniforms, training materials, travel expenses and course costs. “Her Turn” is a 24-month holistic training programme in the hospitality industry specifically targeting young women from ethnic minorities. Each year, 30 young women have the opportunity to join this initiative.

The DER Touristik Foundation has been supporting the renovation and expansion of the KOTO training restaurant in Hanoi for a few years now. Since the pandemic started, the Foundation has been funding accommodation, tuition, and health care for some trainees so that the young people do not lose their training and future opportunities.

Personal Narratives: A Glimpse into Lien Bien’s KOTO Journey

Lien Bien is a KOTO graduate. In 1997, after the loss of her mother, Lien and her brother moved to their grandparents’ care due to their father’s struggles. Introduced to KOTO by an uncle following her brother’s passing, it became a lifeline – KOTO offered her an opportunity, culminating in securing a position in a high-end hotel.

Q: How did KOTO prepare you for success in your professional career?

Lien Bien: KOTO not only equipped me with professional skills but nurtured my personal growth. After an intensive three-month training in South Korea, I became more outspoken and open, gaining strength. Looking ahead, I secured a visa to go to Australia, a dream I never thought possible. KOTO empowered me to dream big, and I now have a position there.

Q: How does your collaboration with KOTO look like now?

Lien Bien: It’s a symbiotic relationship. KOTO gave me a chance, supported me personally and professionally. Now, through collaborations, I aim to give back by supporting new trainees, mentoring them, and playing a part in their journey.

Q: Why is it important to support young women in ethnic minorities?

Lien Bien: Women in Vietnam face limited opportunities and are hungry for chances. KOTO provides these opportunities, creating a pathway to dreams and building a better life for them.

KOTO’s journey is not just a success story – it’s a narrative of transformation. As the DER Touristik Foundation celebrates a decade of impactful collaborations with partners from all over the world, KOTO stands as a symbol of change and hope, embodying its “Know One, Teach One” motto in every life touched by its mission. Find out more