Education director Pham Duc Kien, one of the founders of Link2America - Valink, talks to Hoang Oanh about his passion for education and his views on the responsibility businesses have towards society, as well as the reasons Valink decides to accompany the charity golf tournament Swing for the Kids.
What is your opinion about the responsibility businesses have to the community?
A business has many ways to express its responsibility to the community, depending on their views and potential. Large enterprises often organise many large-scale programs attracting a significant number of participants, thereby achieving strong influence. Many small businesses also hold small-scale annual activities. While these are aimed at a specific group of people, they are still highly effective.
Many large corporations and businesses in Vietnam today are organising meaningful social activities. For example, FPT Corporation has refurbished a number of old schools. This small action brings great spiritual value. Vinamilk also contributes to the community through offering underprivileged children free milk. We recognise that these programs are very meaningful and when we see them happening, it motivates us to share the difficulties of these communities and fulfil our responsibilities according to our capabilities.
In what ways is Valink implementing this responsibility to the community?
My view is, “Focus multiplies our power.” As a small company our strategy to target the most impoverished places first. In my opinion, it would be better if we stick with these in the long term, instead of segmenting our resources into many different areas.
Our recent school building project in Son La was the peak of Vaink’s long-standing volunteer program. Every year, we visit the province to donate books and rice, we give cows to disadvantaged families and build more spacious classrooms, giving more students the opportunity to go to school. These actions will help the students have better learning conditions, and also make the teachers who are struggling there more. We also act as advisors for two big clubs in Hanoi, the Heart Connection Club and the Hanoi Charity Fund. These are sustainable activities that we want to work towards.
Do the Valink programs receive the support of students and parents?
Valink’s team of consultants includes teachers who are very enthusiastic about community activities and who have also organised many programs. Lan Truong, a founder, scholarship and immigration consultant is a good example. She has organised many successful programs such as donating Chung cake to disadvantaged children for the Tet holiday, building schools in the highlands, giving cows and building roads for some disadvantaged communes in Bac Kan, and inviting 100 doctors to organise a medical examination and treatment program for poor communities. These practical activities are held annually and attract the support of many of Valink’s students and parents.
On several occasions you shared your desire to find a long haul program for Valink to work with to see the changes over time. Has Valink found such a program?
I have read Vietnam Investment Review since I was a freshman at university. Through friends, I am aware of the annual charity golf tournament Swing for the Kids organised by VIR. This is a very large-scale program and its good name has attracted many great sponsors. This is the main reason why Valink decides to be one of the those sponsors to VIR’s Swing for the Kids charity golf tournament. The philosophy of the program has many similarities with Valink’s aims so we want to accompany the contest to make a small contribution to the success of this season. Valink hopes that the program will continue to be successful for many years so that we will have a prestigious and trustworthy event to support and collaborate with long term.
We are also willing to accompany and support meaningful programs that demonstrate social responsibility in the field of education. There are many charitable funds based in other countries that each month send $25 to a young person in Vietnam and support them until they are 17 or 18 years old. I have met kind-hearted people who have supported children through these programmes for nearly 20 years. There are even people who are willing to support the child to go to the US to continue to study and they will fund the cost. I am very interested in these programmes and wish to be able to do something similar.
With more than 20 years of experience in the field of bilateral education and cooperation between Vietnam and America, Valink is currently a partner of more than 500 universities and 120 high schools across the United States thanks to its ability to provide overseas study and settlement consultancy services with high professionalism and efficiency. In the field of education, Valink not only helps students choose the right school but also supports them with enrollment, financial proofing, visa interviews, scholarship recommendations and other assistance during the process.