Who We Support
We appreciate the hard work and dedication organisations put into assisting and sustaining a better livelihood for those in need. So much so, Helen Wong’s Tours is very proud to support two overseas organisations to help them continue with their efforts and promote their endeavours, goals and achievements.
MEET OUR ADOPTED PANDA …. ‘ANKALI’
Ankali the Panda – Hard to believe she’s now 13.
Her name is Ankali, and she is Australia’s adopted panda, born and cared for at The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in Chengdu, a centre focused on protecting and enhancing the animals’ chances of survival. Here you can see exhibits on panda evolution, habits, habitats and conservation efforts that have been introduced to ensure that the adorable pandas of China continue to thrive for future generations.
Helen Wong has dedicated her career to promoting China and has always been passionate about introducing every aspect of the country to visitors. On a visit to Chengdu in 2005, Helen decided it was time to show her appreciation to the country by adopting a new-born panda to provide financial assistance and support towards the work and research done at the Research Base.
With only around 1500 pandas remaining in the world, the goal of the Research Base is to increase the captive population of pandas. Continued breeding is sometimes difficult as pandas are known to be “fussy” when choosing a suitable mate and therefore the news of an impending birth is very exciting.
At only 2 months of age, Ankali was officially adopted by Helen Wong’s Tours and after a nationwide competition, the name (meaning friendship) was chosen.
Our ongoing commitment and support for Ankali has ensured that important research and education continues at the panda base.
Many clients have visited Ankali over the years and have seen the wonderful home that she shares with many of her panda friends and family.
HELPING THE YOUTH ….. KOTO RESTAURANT, HANOI
Koto Restaurant – one of our many “unparalleled highlights”
‘KOTO is about creating a safe environment where a small group of extremely vulnerable young people can learn and grow – because through education and skills comes empowerment and the path to a brighter future.’
Mr Jimmy Pham, KOTO Founder and Director
A keenness to better the lives of underprivileged Vietnamese street children in Hanoi saw the birth in 1996 of a concept which Australian Chinese Jimmy Pham continues today from a restaurant he labelled KOTO.
In opening the enterprising restaurant Jimmy has provided jobs for those wanting to learn the skills and find stable employment.
From small beginnings as a sandwich shop in Hanoi, KOTO is now recognised as an internationally accredited hospitality programme for young people. The 120-seat restaurant is a dynamic and popular venue which highlights the fact that every young person can have the start in life they deserve if they are willing to work hard and achieve their dream. By gaining practical experience, the students are also taught hospitality and life skills. Once they have completed their training, they remain highly valued candidates for the local hospitality industry with many going on to work in international hotels and restaurants around Vietnam.
Helen Wong’s Tours is honoured to support and promote KOTO for our Vietnam clients by including a meal at the restaurant for tours which have our value-added “unparalleled highlights” , in doing so supporting the KOTO concept – and the wonderful work of Jimmy Pham.
KOTO continues to grow and develop as many more street kids and disadvantaged youth pass through its doors and go onto successful careers. KOTO hopes to become a model that can be adopted elsewhere in Vietnam, Asia and in other countries in need.