Betoaji Project: Introducing Vietnamese Culture to The World
|Cooking class of Vietnamese dishes for foreign "guests" of the Betoaji project.
Building a cultural bridge from Vietnamese food
Betoaji representative shared that the idea of establishing the project came when the founding members saw children in the Northwest highlands in the cold. This led to the idea of raising funds for disadvantaged children.
In November 2012, Betoaji was officially born with the symbol of the lotus flower. It is the national flower of Vietnam, symbolizing the purity of dreams.
In the early days, the group created funds by organizing cooking programs for young Vietnamese people studying abroad in Tokyo. Gradually, Betoaji's activities increasingly attract more international students to participate.
|Through teaching how to cook Vietnamese dishes, the project has created a cultural bridge, introducing the beauty of the country and people to friends around the world. Photo: NDO
The group's activities aim to bring the most unique features of Vietnamese culture and cuisine to international friends by opening cooking classes for foreigners and selling handmade products.
To date, the project has more than 100 volunteers and many branches throughout Japan.
Explaining how Betoaji works, Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, a project representative, said that every month, Betoaji branches across Japan will organize Vietnamese cooking classes.
Each branch will have a group of volunteers, including international students and Vietnamese people living and working in Japan. People in Betoaji's volunteer group will take on tasks such as chefs of the cooking class, booking rooms, writing recipes, translating, preparing ingredients, being in charge of the kitchen, and interpreting in classes.
Betoaji also participates in cultural events, typically the Vietnamese culinary culture festival, Lunar New Year party, parties between Betoaji and businesses, and many other events.
At these events, in addition to introducing Vietnamese dishes, Betoaji volunteers also perform traditional costumes, musical performances, and games, or give presentations introducing Betoaji and Vietnamese culture.
"Through these cultural exchange activities, Betoaji promoted its role in introducing culture, helping international friends have the opportunity to exchange and learn more about Vietnamese culture and cuisine," said a Betoaji representative.
|The project representative introduced Betoaji's activities. Photo: NDO
Supporting children in difficulties
Besides the purpose of introducing Vietnamese culture, Betoaji also has the mission of raising funds for poor children in Vietnam.
According to the project representative, Betoaji's lessons are charged at JPY1,500 (US$10.04)/person.
After deducting the money for materials and classroom rental, the branches will summarize the remaining amount and send it to the headquarters in Tokyo.
These contributions from the branches will be sent back to Vietnam to raise charity funds for poor children facing difficult circumstances in life and study.
Betoaji succeeded in establishing a study promotion fund model in Ea Sup district (Dak Lak) and Thua Thien Hue to help poor children have the opportunity to study and pursue their dreams of going to school.
Children who are lucky enough to receive the Betoaji scholarship fund are called "godchildren" because Betoaji is committed to closely supporting them from the time they enter school until they graduate from university. From 2013 to 2014, the Betoaji scholarship fund helped more than 120 poor children in the Ea Sup district, many of whom completed university courses.
|All funds raised will be spent to support children in difficult circumstances. Photo: NDO
By 2019, Betoaji supported 40 "godchildren." Among them, 33 students are studying at middle and high school, and 6 students are studying at Tay Nguyen University, Nha Trang University, and universities in Ho Chi Minh City. One student graduated from Da Nang University of Medical Technology & Pharmacy and returned to Ea Sup to work and help manage the Betoaji scholarship fund.
|To date, the project organized more than 200 classes to introduce Vietnamese cuisine in Japan, attracting more than 2,000 participants. The project also awarded more than 300 scholarships, supported 156 orphaned children in Vietnam, provided free medical examination to 150 children, and many other meaningful activities.
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