Comment from the Ambassador
Richard Mercado

The Comgest Foundation’s support in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic supported the 150 trainees that still required feeding, housing and education. The impact from the pandemic is ongoing and KOTO had to close their training restaurant but with support from donors like the foundation they were able to open a new one that is integral to the life changing programme and to providing the trainees with practical experience and community.

Throughout the pandemic the commitment of the founder, staff and trainees to this life changing programme has been steadfast and passionate. Failing was not an option and it has been deeply humbling to have played a part in ensuring that KOTO continues to successfully improve lives


The purpose of KOTO is to offer a solution to disadvantaged and at-risk youngsters by providing a free-of-charge training programme. The programme is highly practical, internationally[1]accredited by Box Hill Institute in Australia, and includes not only vocational training but also English, Computers and life skills. The aim is to get trainees fully ready for jobs at the end of the programme, during which they also benefit from accommodation, access to healthcare, and support within the community.

The depth of the programme has helped to dramatically transform the lives of its participants, removing them from the vicious cycle of poverty and replacing it with the opportunity to recognise potential that would have been denied in the absence of life’s basic necessities.

KOTO has trained and transformed the lives of over 1,000 disadvantaged youngsters and their families over the 20 years during which it has been operating. Many of them have gone a long way in their career to become chefs, hospitality managers, entrepreneurs, teachers, etc., were able to support their families, keep their siblings in school, and help other young people.

In 2016 KOTO shifted to a Social Enterprise model with a Foundation and Enterprise arm. The goal was that the Enterprise arm would be able to self-sustain the costs of the training and education of the participants. They had reached the point where the Enterprise arm covered 66% of the costs of the Foundation before COVID 19 impacted operations.

Lockdowns and a dearth of travel have resulted in a deficit that could jeopardise the very existence of KOTO. The support of Comgest Far East Ltd will help KOTO get through this challenging crisis.

Impact / Main indicators

An impact assessment is not yet possible. Objectives:

• Graduation of a new class of students
• Improvement of KOTO’s financial sustainability

Project sponsors

KOTO Vietnam