I didn’t start with anything big

I didn't start with anything big 4

People often imagine that doing good deeds is bringing joy to others.

Sticking with the work of training disadvantaged youth from the time it was just a project of Plan until the project split into an independent organization called REACH in 2008,

Running a non-governmental and non-profit organization specializing in vocational training and career guidance for disadvantaged Vietnamese youth is not easy.

Ms. Thanh Tam, director of REACH, took the time to share with ELLE about her plan as well as the remaining difficulties in the operations of NGOs in Vietnam.

Ms. Pham Thi Thanh Tam

Ten years is indeed a long and admirable journey, what gives you the motivation?

I’m not a person who is too ambitious about big things.

Why did you choose this field of work and not expand into other community activities?

Career development for young people is one of the country’s strategic goals.

Because REACH students are people in difficult circumstances, their needs are not only limited to vocational training, but some of them also have needs for psychological counseling and health counseling.

What difficulties do you encounter in the process of running a non-profit organization like REACH?

Currently, the state does not have a specific legal framework for the activities of Local NGOs, so we still encounter some difficulties in the operating process.

Finance is also a huge challenge today for REACH.

So do you have any solution for this problem?

To achieve financial independence, we must transform REACH’s model from a completely non-profit NGO that depends on donor sources to a social enterprise.

According to REACH’s new strategy, this August we will launch a paid training program for those who need training and can afford it.

This process will certainly take time, perhaps another year or two before we break even and make a profit.

You have worked with many women in difficult circumstances, what are your thoughts on the importance of creating opportunities for women?

People often talk about women’s empowerment, that is, enhancing women’s power in society.

Can you share your aspirations and dreams for the future?

See more Interview with Ms. Tam Dan, who brings hope to female students

See more Interview with Ms. Lara Vu (UNICEF Vietnam): Help will come, when you ask

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