ILA Community Network (ILACN) was founded in 2005 by Tony Williams, chairman of Vietnam’s leading English language education and training company from which the community network takes its name.
Operating more as a foundation than a charity, ILACN’s mission is to create measurable impact on the lives of disadvantaged children in the communities in which ILA operates, in particular Ho Chi Minh City where the chain of schools has its home base.
To maximise their impact, ILACN works in partnership with seven NGOs around the country, including Saigon Children’s Charity, Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, SOS Children’s Villages and Xuan. Using these partnerships, they are able to focus their support on projects that impact directly on the lives of children, in an immediate and sustainable way.
The success of ILACN comes their community network of teachers, staff, students and their families who donate time and money to fund and support a broad range of ongoing projects throughout the ILA centre network.
Regular events such as football tournaments, art exhibitions, pub quizzes and parties are used to raise funds, and with all operating costs covered by ILA Vietnam, 100% of every contribution they receive goes directly to support the network’s projects.
Working closely with their partner organisations, they are able to find out where their funding support is most needed, and then deliver products or services directly where needed. Funds are used to provide education and health care support in underdeveloped regions around the country, as well as repair and build schools and to provide much needed equipment and supplies.
In Go Vap the network has provided supplies and surgeries for sick children. In Bung Sang they renovated a shelter and built a music club for blind children. At Green Bamboo Boys Shelter, and Little Rose Warm Shelter, they support the daily living costs of boys and girls.
As well as supporting child development programmes with their partner organisations, ILACN sponsors children to attend state schools, and offers English scholarship programmes to children who would like to study at an ILA centre.
In this year alone, the network has provided sponsorship for 250 children to attend state schools, and have a similar number now studying English with ILA for free. Once sponsored, children who enter the ILACN scholarship programme are supported until they finish their education.
Many of the teachers working for ILA want to give back to their host country in a unique and meaningful way. Each ILA centre has a volunteer representative, responsible for organising and coordinating the centre’s volunteer activities.
Harnessing this tremendous resource of eager participants, the community network hosts a variety of activities at shelters around the country, including English and music classes, sport activities, and social events. The future for ILACN and the children they support looks bright. Bigger projects that work towards long-term sustainability are on the horizon as they turn their focus from changing lives to changing generations.