My friend Shu Tan in Forbes Vietnam

Last week, my good friend Shu Tan, founder of the social enterprise Sapa O’Chau, was nominated for the “30 Under 30 Summit 2016“, organized by Forbes Vietnam. A great recognition for her hard work.

I met Shu when I was doing my fieldwork in the villages around Sapa in Northern Vietnam. In that time, I was already amazed by her outstanding qualities and her persistence to improve the life of the ethnic minorities in her area. Shu was born in Ta Van, a nearby village of Sapa, home to the H’mong community. She started her career as a tour guide, bringing Western tourists to her home village. Later on she founded a tour company and a social enterprise Sapa O’Chau: with a mission to get all of their youths back to school and into sustainable careers.

On their website, Sapa O’Chau states the following: “We help students who would otherwise not be able to complete their education due to financial or geographical limitations. There are only kindergartens and primary schools in the villages hence village students need to walk at least 15 km to Sapa Town where the highschools are. Sapa O’Chau school provide the boarding facilities, meals and government school fees with funds mainly from our social enterprise businesses and some from grants and donations. Our students attend the government highschool to obtain certification and enrichment lessons with our volunteers at Sapa O’Chau school.”

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