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That's Christmas shopping sorted, then....

We're delighted to be supporting Tò He - a social enterprise that provides a creative learning playground for disadvantaged children - by selling some of their gorgeous wares.

We’re really proud of having created a family business in Vietnam and as well as adhering to the strictest ethical standards, we’ve worked with several local charities and social enterprises over the years.  We’re now proud to be supporting Tò He - a social enterprise that provides a creative learning playground for disadvantaged children to play and learn in a safe and stimulating setting - through selling their products in shops and online.

To provide some background in their own words:

There are an estimated 5 million disadvantaged children in Vietnam and of those, about 20% are disabled. Not only do these children suffer from material poverty; they are confronted with medical problems, experience accessibility issues and suffer from significant social stigma. They typically are not afforded the same educational opportunities as mainstream students, particularly in creative fields. Visual arts is sometimes viewed as a ‘waste of time’, and is excluded from the curriculum.

Tò He provides weekly visual art classes to disadvantaged children in various social welfare centers around Hanoi and through these we ignite kids' self-confidence and nurture their artistic potential.  Selected artworks from the children are used as prints for lifestyle products such as carry bags, laptop cases, notebooks, soft toys. Profits from sales are reinvested into the art development program.

The top priority of each class is for kids to PLAY. “We often draw enormous pictures together. We also use recycled waste paper, cans, pieces of wood and cardboard to make cute toys, lovely bookmarks and fashionable paper clothes... We even erected a miniature city using milk bottles…”

If we ever need cheering up, we have a look at the fabulous descriptions of their ‘little artists’ (made even more adorable by the auto translation!). 

Nguyen Thi Gai, for example : The girl is very "powerful". She is quite obstreperous but her artworks is interesting. Normally, she is pretty lazy in colouring but once she is inspired, no one can stop her drawing.”

And our favourite, Hiep: “He is a naughty boy and also an expert who prefer to skip artclass to go out and play. But it's very interesting when he begins drawing and making handmade things. His fashion is very alternative.” 

And the reviews of the Tò He shop on Trip Advisor are equally charming; we almost feel we’re there ourselves.

The last word from Tò He – “We will never stop dreaming and will do all we can to motivate kids and provide them an ideal environment for both playing and nourishing their creative capability.”

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