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Vietnamese charity wins international award for outstanding work with youth

Update: December, 16/2015 - 00:00
Vocational training helps improve the livelihoods of disadvantaged youth. — Photo courtesy of REACH

HA NOI (VNS) — Ha Noi-based charity REACH, which works to overcome youth unemployment in Viet Nam by providing free vocational training, has received the prestigious Stars Foundation Impact Award.

REACH was one of eight Asia-Pacific winners recognised by the UK-based Stars Foundation at the Philanthropreneurship Forum, held at the Palais des Congrès de Versailles, in Paris, last Saturday.

The award recognises outstanding contributions by local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to improve the lives of underprivileged children.

REACH is one of two Vietnamese charities to be recognised, alongside the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, and will receive US$50,000 in flexible funding and capacity building support from Stars Foundation to support their activities.

Muna Wehbe, the CEO of Stars Foundation, said this year's winners had "demonstrated exceptional work in responding to the needs of children" and strong management practices. The $50,000 in flexible funding would also allow organisations to determine where funds would be used to maximum effect, she said.

In Viet Nam, more than one million people enter the workforce every year, but the highly competitive market has seen the youth unemployment rate reach almost three times the overall rate, according to the International Labour Organisation.

Disadvantaged youth, such as those affected by poverty, domestic violence, trafficking or HIV/AIDS, are even less likely to gain employment due to socio-economic barriers.

REACH Executive Director Pham Thi Thanh Tam said that affordable skills training and vocational educational was vital in improving the livelihoods of disadvantaged youth.

"More than 1,200 young people complete REACH's 3-month vocational training programme each year, and over 80 per cent of graduates finding a stable job within six months of graduation."

The organisation, which was established in 2008, has designed training courses that respond to market demand with courses in the areas of cooking, hairdressing and nail painting, food and beverage services, as well as sales and marketing.

Thanks to a large network of business, REACH has linked trainees with stable employment, and has successfully filled the training gap for more than 12,000 young people in Viet Nam. — VNS

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