Just a block from our hotel in the backpacker district of Saigon, Vietnam was a little coffee shop called Sozo Cafe. It didn’t look any different from a million other coffee shops in the city until we noticed the logo byline: “restoring hope, changing lives.” We had to go see what it was all about.
Sozo helps underprivileged Vietnamese families (most of them working on the streets with very little income) break the cycle of debt, be trained for employment and have an opportunity of a new start in life. 100% of all profit is used for staff training, development and education.
They began in 2004 with a steel cart baking and selling American style cookies. Today, they have a three-story shop, 15-20 people in the training program where they learn all facets of the restaurant business, and five community projects that are student based. They’ve had over 150 young people come for “Tea Talk” where they can practice their English.
The aim is to change lives and restore hope, to be available for the economically and physically challenged, and to make a difference in the lives of all who come to Sozo. They seek to do all things with excellence.
The name Sozo is the Greek word for Save, Safe, or Rescued, the font is Hebraic, which is the perfect combo for a place dedicated to saving lives.
Check out their website, especially these pages that share the story and student activities and/or follow them on Facebook. We’ll also share some of their blog posts from time to time.
By the way, the food was the best we had in Saigon!
I agree with this quote on a bookshelf in the reading room a little more than I’d like to admit!