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FOR VIETNAM’S POOREST, STREETS INTERNATIONAL GIVES THEM A FUTURE

May 28, 2010

Hospitality training program turns the streets into a jumping off point for a real career
By Darren Atkins All photos courtesy of Streets International

Recently some of New York’s most celebrated chefs came together at The Astor Center to support Streets International (www.streetsinternational.org), a non-for-profit organization that provides opportunities for Vietnam’s street kids to escape from poverty and destitution, and transition to a life of hope and promising hospitality industry careers.

The third annual Streets event was a lively and delicious evening that brought some joy to the reality that there was a need for such an event. Vietnam, bordered by China to the north and Laos to the northwest, boasts a population of over 86 million people and is the 13th most populous country in the world. Gaining their independence from the Chinese in AD 938, and much later the French, Vietnam has had their fair share of hardships after suffering from prolonged military engagement. However, while the country managed to regain strength and its economic growth there are still casualties of this war torn country; many of them are children and young adults. An estimated 19,000 young people live on the streets of Hanoi alone, many of them suffering from health problems and the ravages of drug abuse and crime.

After witnessing so many young adults struggling with drug dependent and crime infested lives lived out on the streets of Vietnam, the charity’s founder, Neal Bermas PhD, was compelled to do something to effect positive change in their existence. Bermas explains, “This is an 18 month program; it’s quite ambitious. We house, feed and provide medical care for these young adults who come from the streets, orphanages and detention centers. During the course of the 18 months they start out mostly in classroom, with curriculums either in culinary or service Continue Reading…