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Interview with Trang Mai Thu from YESD Vietnam

YESD (Youth Employment and Society Development) is a social enterprise that helps local communities and provides authentic responsible tourism experiences in northern Vietnam. YESD assist homestay owners in managing their business, train local guides, provide English classes and organise development projects that benefit the wider community. Their dedication to supporting the local community allows them to provide authentic, professional and memorable tours. YESD’s mission is to increase employment for underprivileged youth in the tourism sector and promote responsible tourism.
1.Your organization is helping local communities by introducing the concept of responsible and sustainable tourism in Vietnam. What was your biggest inspiration to found YESD?

Trang: YESD stands for Youth Employment and Society Development Social Enterprise, was founded by 3 young female friends in 2015. Each of founders has their own strengths, but sharing a passion of supporting disadvantaged communities and developing society. We have the same background of working for some non-governmental organizations and community development projects. From those projects, we all understand that we should do something together to help the youth, especially the youth at tribal groups. OUr aim is to limit city population booming because of rural youth immigration, as well as create more job opportunities for local people. we recognize the potential of the local community to develop tourism (landscape, interesting culture, traditions, …) and we believe it will be a great tool to help them not just increase income but also save their culture. Therefore, we started to develop responsible tourism project here under the approval of local community. Our very first activities is to train local communities in language and tourism skills. From 2015 until now, YESD has brought more jobs and run different educational, environmental, cultural projects in Vietnam through running responsible tours. Our motto is “giving is receiving”.

2. Are young people in Vietnam using the technology and mobile apps in order to make a social impact in their communities?

Trang: Technology has been booming in Vietnam recently. The young generation focuses more on games, social medias such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Using mobile apps to make a social impact, that is still very new for them. But it does not mean that no one cares of it. There are a lot of startup, young leaders who are interested in both developing technology and creating a social impact in Vietnam. For example, Ecoscan using artificial intelligence to save food, mGreen creating an mobile app to process trashes, Remote using wind turbin to create electricity for the poor. More and more even younger age are working together to create a better world in this 4.0 society.

3. What was the main motivation of YESD to take part in the mYouth project?

Trang: YESD is a social enterprise (SE) was established to deal with 3 things: unemployment, protect environment and preserve cultures via responsible tourism projects. Firstly, we can solve them out by running tours and training local communities gradually, but we can make it better if we knew any mobile apps that could be recommended by us to all of tourists, staffs and partners. Basing on technology, we surely educate our staffs faster because everyone uses smart phones. Secondly, most of our projects all include young staffs who really passion in social impacts. With mYouth, YESD would like to share this great chance for those talented in which they can use their skills to follow their passion. Those mobile app will be not applied only in Vietnam but all over the world also.

4. Can you tell us more about your personal experience during this project? Did the mYouth project help your organization in any way?

Trang: YESD is not a technology organization and this is our first time joining the project. After a kickoff meeting, we started running a campaign to call applicants. But because it was on the Vietnamese Tet holiday, it was so hard to attract people in our project. The Tet had gone after 1 week of holiday, but everyone was busy with their own homeworks, pagodas, other vacations. We realized that we should be hurry to find applicants. Right at that moment, we recognized a strength of our networks and witnessed a great support from all of our SE partners. MYouth is like a glue stick us together when we need helps. MYouth does not bring a great opportunity only for YESD, but for other young startups and participants in Vietnam also. We had a chance to open our eyes in front of all meaningful mobiles apps, connected with more great partners who have a same vision with us. We believe we can walk further together on the way of developing communities via technology.



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