Mekong Organics – English for Rural Kids in Vietnam

Khoa spoke English the the third meeting with the teacher

The mission of Mekong Organics is to support smallholder farmers and very small businesses to grow and trade organic food sustainably in Southeast Asia. To build capacity for smallholder farm families and businesses, we started to train English rural kids of farm families to speak English directly with native Australian English speakers with the mentorship of the Australian alumni who graduated post-graduate with the Australia Awards.

The Mekong Organics First Initiative is training English for rural kids in the remote rural villages of the Mekong Delta and Vietnam where Dr. Van Kien Nguyen grew up in a rice-growing fam family a rice-growing family in a remote village of Thuan Hung Commune, My Tu District of Soc Trang province, Vietnam. Dr. Nguyen Van Kien is the founder of Mekong Organics, an Australian company based in Canberra Australia. DR Kien is also an Australian Alumnus who received an Australian Development Scholarship for his postgraduate in Environmental Management and development at the Australian National University (2005-06) and the Australian Leadership Award for Ph.D. in Sociology at the Australian National University (2008-2012). English is the key gate to open the door to him to win these awards.

At his secondary school age, he did not have a chance to study English. He went to school by rowing a boat with a group of peers in the village. He entered Can Tho University in 1996 when he started his first English lesson with city kids. He recognized the importance of learning English for success, especially for rural kids. He decided to pilot this program in his hometown (Thien Nhon Hamlet, Thuan Hung commune of My Tu District, Soc Trang province). He started with 3 scholarships (a tablet for a kid) and one in-kind support for a rural girl in Kien Giang province to assist them in learning English with his mentor-ship and speaking English with the native Australian. The program will take 2-3 years until the kids are confident enough to communicate in English. Mekong Organics’ strategy is to extend this program to many disadvantaged kids in the rural of Vietnam. This program was initially funded by the Rotary Club of Hall, under the project “Organic Farming in the Mekong Delta Vietnam (RAOAF)”. The project is managed and operated by Dr Van Kien Nguyen, Director of Mekong Organics PTY LTD.

  1. The First English Group- The Rice English Group

2. The second English Group- the Kangaroo English Group

The second English Class called the Kangaroo English Group supports University students and lecturers who are keen to apply for scholarships to study overseas. This group is mentored by Mr. Vo Van Oc, an Australian alumnus of the Australia Award, and Mr. Ron (an English teacher from Sydney), with 4 researchers from An Giang University, 1 lecturer from Soc Trang Community College, 1 lecturer from the National University of Lao PDR, and 1 student from An Giang University. This group is ready to study overseas.

3. The third English Group – The Mango English Group in Vung Liem – Vinh Long province

4. The fourth English Group- The Shrimp English Group in Ca Mau and Kien Giang

5. The fifth English Group – The Coffee English Group in Central Highlands of Vietnam

Inspired Story for rural kids to learn English

The story of learning English successfully from Dr. Van Kien Nguyen can be seen at this link.




Ms. Bao Tran Pham is an English teaching assistant and mentor for the students. Bao Tran came to Australia when she was in year 9 at the Kings-ford Smith High School in Canberra ACT Australia. She is now in year 12 at the Dickson College in ACT Canberra, Australia. Bao Tran is volunteering to mentor English pronunciation and speaking for the kids. Bao Tran Pham is also the class coordinator for the program.


  1. Rotary Club of Hall in Canberra, Australia
From the left: Mr. Daniel Gilfillan (major donor), Dr. Van Kien Nguyen (Founder), Mr. Alan Broughton (Supporter), Mr. Anton Anton Pavlinovic (English teacher), and Mrs. Fiona Hamer (Organic Farming in the Mekong Delta Vietnam (RAOAF) – Program Director). Rotary Club gave an initial fund for three tablets to three kids in the rice growing area, Thuan Hung hamlet, Thuan Hung Commune, My Tu District, Soc Trang province.

2. AP Engineering Company – Organic Fumigation System in HCM City.

Mr Phat Nguyen, the CEO of AP Engineering donates the first USD 1000 to pay for IELTS testing fees to those kids who obtained an IELTS overall score of 6.0, without any band less than 6.0.


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