Pay-It-Forward and REACH Alumni Thach Sanh rice bowl

Pay-It-Forward means that REACH gives the opportunity to the students, and then as graduates and alumni, they come back and create opportunities for the next group of students.

‘Pay-It-Forward’, the miracle has begun at REACH!

The recent phrase ‘Pay-it-forward’ is becoming very popular in many circles. It originated in cafes and restaurants where a customer would put money ‘forward’ for others less fortunate to share in what they have just enjoyed.

For example, when they bought one cup of coffee at a café they would pay for two cups so a less fortunate person who comes by the café can enjoy one as well. It is a very satisfying experience both for the person who ‘pays forward’ and for the person who receives it.

However, how can a person who has nothing, not even a sufficient job, pay forward?

The miracle of ‘paying forward’ by people who have had nothing has begun at REACH and is very exciting. REACH alumni who were given the opportunity of training and obtaining secure employment are now ‘paying forward’ to our next generation of students. They are giving disadvantaged youth the same opportunities they had been given.

We are calling this the ‘REACH Spirit’. The Spirit we want to ‘reach’, and the Spirit to always ‘reach’ to people that need help.

REACH Alumni, REACH ‘spirit’

REACH alumni are an important part of REACH’s work in Vietnam. Alumni maintain a close relationship with the organization. They take on important roles as inspirators, guides, and mentors to encourage the next generation of students to be inspired and take up the experiences and challenges that helped them move beyond their position of disadvantage.

Alumni have inspired many REACH students. 61% of enrolling students got to know about REACH through Alumni who actively participated in community enrollment activities.

Alumni clubs in Hanoi, Hai Duong, Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang are also the core of the ‘Pay-it-forward’ movement. Much of ‘paying it forward is ‘in kind’ through alumni generously giving of their time. For example, through participation in seminars they share their own experiences that encourage those in need.

And it does not stop there. Alumni and current students work together to ‘pay-it-forward’ by helping other less fortunate people. In Hai Duong they organized a moon festival for blind people through Hai Duong’s Association of the Blind. They also wrapped banh chung with Hai Duong General Hospital and volunteered at the Kindness Project at Cu Lao Xanh.

Each alumni club sets up an annual fund so that they can ‘pay-it-forward’ for students in difficult circumstances, or for community projects or to donate to appeals like Thach Sanh’s rice bowl. This an annual fund raising project is named after the famous Vietnamese folk tale of Thach Sanh.

Although Thach Sanh was from a poor background he never stopped believing in people and always tried to help them. This moved God so much that his rice bowl was always overflowing and he was able to ‘pay it forward ‘ forever. A truly inspiring story.

REACH alumni ‘walk the talk’ and ‘talk the talk’.

REACH alumni do so much more than just talk!

They take their talk and experiences and put them into action!

‘Walking the talk’ and becoming actively engaged in many activities since the impact of Covid-19 has been part of their new challenge. The Alumni community has got together to help and support those affected by the pandemic.

In addition, they have supported new students by conducting training activities and running events that encourage people during these difficult times.

In Da Nang the alumni club held online photo contests in March and April; in Trinh Ngoc Giap one of our alumni won the Covid-19 story-sharing contest held by SCDI. Alumni also worked with REACH staff to present an online forum between six organizations across South East Asia.

1- Transfer to account:

Account number: 0011004015470
Name: REACH center
Bank: Vietcombank
Branch: Transaction Center

2- Donate via an account on
Global Giving 



Writer: Vo Ngoc Linh Trang – Editor: Bac Bob

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