Enjoying a delicious local meal is one thing, but knowing that where you have chosen to dine also makes a real difference to disadvantaged youth gives you even greater satisfaction. Many Intrepid travellers know the dining delights of KOTO in Hanoi and now Ho Chi Minh City. KOTO was established in 1999 to support deserving young people and Helen Cunningham explains why it’s one of her most memorable meals in Asia…
“If you’re a people person, then some of the best travelling discoveries you can make come from meeting the locals at your destination. For a down to earth, realistic and sometimes colourful experience, I thoroughly enjoy the knowledge, company and stories that the locals are willing to share. Having travelled through many Asian countries, I love to get away from the regular, most visited tourist spots and sample local cuisine, culture and art, and in return the locals are excited to share their lifestyle with me.
Braille reading kits and Braille canes were deservedly top sellers amongst Intrepid Foundation ‘Global Gifts’ sales this Christmas. These will be distributed by Braille Without Borders (BWB), a wonderful organisation bringing education to blind children in Tibet. They have made extraordinary inroads in not just education, but also dispelling myths around disability in Tibet. Sabriye, the founder of BWB, updates us on their news…
“Right now, Tibet is freezing cold. On the farm, at an altitude of 3900m, the temperature varies between 11 degrees celsius during daytime and minus 11 degrees at night. Everyone has prepared for the coldest winter months of January and February. Our Tibetan colleagues use south-facing greenhouse like structures in front of the dormitory-windows to collect the heat of the sun. On the doors the house parents have placed extra quilts and blankets to protect the kids from the icy winds.
A 5-day eye camp in the Kampong Chen Cheung commune of Stong District, Cambodia, has recently restored sight to over 190 people. Around 500 people lined up to have their eyes checked by an outreach surgical team consisting of an ophthalmologist, a resident and three nurses. Intrepid travellers and The Intrepid Foundation have supported The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Cambodia program over many years, and have helped restore hope and dignity to many Cambodians through the restoration of their sight.
Mr Chhun Chat, the commune chief, said that every year The Fred Hollows Foundation’s eye camp brings hope, smiles and laughter to his villages. “As far as I remember it has been the fifth eye camp conducted in my commune,” he says. “We were waiting for their visit to arrive sooner, so hundreds of people would have the chance to see their loved ones again.”
A challenge for vulnerable youth in many communities is finding the opportunity to forge their future. If you have been raised in poverty, homelessness or suffering other disadvantages, finding a right fit might simply be having your eyes opened to possibility. Such possibilities were recently presented to a group of young Laotian men, who are training in mechanics with Peuan Mit, a project supported by The Intrepid Foundation and based in Vientiane.
The 14 young men went on a study trip to a large Kolao workshop accompanied by their teachers. At Kolao, they met the head of the mechanics garage and the manager. Kolao is a Korean brand of motorcycle that is extremely popular in Laos, so the mechanics students learn every possible way to repair and service them because in their future job, they are most likely to see these models.
Introducing an amazing woman who knows a thing or two about challenges… after Robin Lim’s sister and her sister’s baby died from complications during childbirth several years ago, Robin and her husband sold their home in Hawaii and moved to Bali to ‘reinvent their lives’. It was there that Robin soon learnt she could help make a big difference to the life prospects of pregnant women and their newborn babies.
In 1994 Robin opened a clinic, Bumi Sehat, so that impoverished local mothers could give birth safely and be treated with dignity and respect. Nearly 18 years on, ‘Ibu’ (meaning mother) Robin has helped to safely deliver thousands of babies. In acknowledgement of her extraordinary work, Ibu Robin has recently been bestowed the wonderful recognition in being named the ’2011 CNN Hero of the Year’.
Porters: we’d have a much tougher time getting up those hills without them! They play such an important role in the success of trekking operations in many mountainous regions, including of course the mighty Himalayas, so Intrepid and The Intrepid Foundation are very proud to support the Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) Porters’ Clothing Bank (PCB).
The PCB was established in 2009 to provide ill-prepared porters with improved clothing, suitable for treks in a mountain environment, and KEEP has no doubt that supporters of the PCB have helped save hundreds of porters from extreme cold, frostbite, amputation and even death. PCB’s latest report tells that nearly 1000 porters, representing different trekking companies as well as individual porters, have benefited from the PCB. Aside from helping porters with clothing items, the KEEP’s PCB assists with education and awareness amongst porters, the tourism industry and with trekkers. So what can travellers do? Here are some tips from KEEP’s Porters Code, to guide you…
The temples of Angkor and their mystical quality is what attracts many travellers to Cambodia. But what Intrepid’s Anya Hodson discovered on her trip to this beautiful kingdom, is that it’s the everyday people of Cambodia who make this country so special…
“During a recent conference trip, our Intrepid group was able to schedule a visit to a local project supported by The Intrepid Foundation. Green Gecko is an organisation in Siem Reap for street kids of all ages. As a place of refuge from life on the streets, Green Gecko is somewhere that children can go to receive shelter and education, but also have fun with other kids.
Here’s a top Christmas gift idea! Forget about boring socks and handkerchiefs, give a gift this year that will make you feel great and is guaranteed to change someone’s life. [...]
Many Intrepid travellers have been introduced to the dining delights of KOTO Hanoi. Now such culinary pleasures, while supporting deserving young people, can also be had in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)!
Established in 1999, KOTO has grown from a small sandwich shop in Hanoi to an internationally accredited hospitality program. In January 2010, KOTO was able to replicate its successful Hanoi model with the opening of KOTO Saigon training centre and has recently celebrated the opening of a restaurant in HCMC. Same great service from trainees who prepare and serve the food. Plus a menu that celebrates local ingredients and utilises the international culinary techniques the trainees are learning, resulting in an array of innovative fusion dishes.
The Intrepid Foundation has now raised over AU$15,000 for Plan International’s East Africa Drought Appeal. Can you help us make it to AU$20,000?
You’ll be surprised what a difference your donation will make:
$20 will give a clean water kit – soap, bucket and water purification tablets for a family of 5 for a month.
$40 will provide clean water for 175 people for a day.
$75 will feed a family of 6 for two weeks.
$150 will provide high calorie food for 300 children suffering from severe malnutrition.
$280 will pay for a health kit for a clinic to support 150 people for three months.