Sao Bien. Room for Education.
Sao Bien. Room for Education. is an Austrian-registered non-profit organization, founded in 2016.
The organization aims to give children aged between 6 and 11 access to quality education by building schools in very remote and very poor villages in Vietnam. By so doing it aims to contribute to the children’s right to education, as anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Sao Bien solely focuses on those areas in Vietnam which, due to their location and poverty, have not received sufficient support from the State and other NGOs in the past. These areas are mostly populated by ethnic minorities.
Many organizations shy away from the logistic difficulties and additional costs that are often connected with these remote locations.
Sao Bien involves the local people and local authorities as well as teachers from the very beginning. This ensures a high degree of identification with the project and, at the same time, guarantees that the school exactly matches the specific needs of the particular village.
Agreements with the local authorities ensure a proper use of the building upon completion.
The project is implemented with the help of different local partners whose support is essential in particular for finding a suitable location, for maintaining contact with local authorities and a smooth and efficient implementation of the respective project.
High efficiency is achieved by a lean organization with an experienced project manager based in Vietnam and an NGO-experienced board based in Vienna that handles financial matters, risk management and legal aspects. Therefore, no money is wasted on headquarters and other overhead costs, but all money reaches the children in need.
The focus of an international organization in these regions will eventually raise awareness of the problematic situation of these minority groups.
The idea for the LO-ANH Foundation (LOAN Stiftung) was the child of two very different life experiences: my own, and my mother’s.
In the 1930s, my mother Loan (Lo-Anh) didn’t attend school because of the fact that she was a girl. Inquisitive and determined, in search of freedom and happiness, she risked her life for an education. In 1955, she left her war-torn country. In France, her new home, she was subject to discrimination and hostility because of the color of her skin. Despite living in abject poverty, she raised her five children, always emphasizing that education was a great privilege.
As Loan’s last child, I have strong memories of these times. We had no beds, and I remember how hard and cold the bedroom floor felt. How cold-hearted other people were towards us because we couldn’t keep up materially. And how difficult it was to maintain what little dignity remained for us and battle the loneliness that had settled into our hearts.
Mondetta Charity Foundation
In 1972, Ugandan President Idi Amin decided to expel the country’s Asian population. 90,000 citizens were given 90 days notice to flee the country. The Modha family was one of these deported families. Kish Modha was 28 and working at his dream job as a wildlife conservationist in Queen Elizabeth National Park. His young nephews, Prashant and Ash, were 6 and 3 years old. With only a few bags on their backs, the Modha family traveled to North America, where they eventually settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
In 1986, Prashant and Ash, now in University, partnered with Kenyan-born brothers Raj and Amit Bahl in founding Mondetta Clothing Company. Mondetta: a combination of the French word for ‘world’, monde with the Latin suffix for ‘small”, etta. A name to reflect international unity and the phenomenon of the global village.
With $50 in start-up capital, the brothers peddled their way to success, beginning on the shores of Grand Beach, a popular summer holiday destination a short drive from Winnipeg. With innovative ideas and high-quality materials they quickly grew from their parents’ basement to a one-room office to a 30,000 sq. ft. office and warehouse.
Mondetta’s founders recognized the opportunities they were afforded by living in Canada. Before corporate social responsibility was a buzzword, Mondetta was already integrating philanthropy into their company philosophy. In 1993, they founded the Mondetta Charity Classic Golf Tournament, which raised over $1 million dollars for a variety of local organizations in its 23-year span.