Ho Chi Minh City, May 02, 2019 – Hong Kong’s home airline, Cathay Pacific, launched the Vietnam chapter of its ‘I Can Fly’ program last weekend, giving underprivileged children from around Ho Chi Minh City a unique educational experience that provides both valuable insights into the world of aviation and helps with their personal development.

The 10 students from the Thang Long School of English and Vocational Education spent 20-21 April on a guided tour of Tan Son Nhat International Airport, where the various careers on offer for aspiring aviators were discussed and presented, with everyone from chefs to pilots taking the time to talk to the children about how they can kickstart their careers in one of the world’s most dynamic industries.

2019 marks the first time that I Can Fly has taken place in Vietnam. The program was run in conjunction with local NGO Saigon Children’s Charity CIO.

The students, who are aged between 12 and 15 years old and who have achieved excellent academic results, spent the two days learning about the different aspects of aviation. They visited an inflight food processing centre, met with Cathay Pacific pilots and engineers and spoke with the airline’s cabin crew to discover more about inflight service roles. The children also toured cargo handling areas as well as airport operation facilities, and – many for the first time – boarded a Cathay Pacific aircraft.

Cathay Pacific Country Manager Vietnam Lance Kwong said: “I have been lucky enough to have spent my entire career in aviation and walking these kids through the facilities at Tan Son Nhat certainly takes me back.

“At the very beginning of my career, I did a similar tour in Hong Kong and it opened my eyes to the broad array of careers on offer within this industry. With I Can Fly, Cathay Pacific has always sought to make aviation both aspirational and accessible as a career choice for young people, and it’s an honour for me to be able to bring that vision to Vietnam, and to these kids here today.

“The sky truly is the limit for these kids,” added Lance.

Ly Uyen Nhi, 14, from Thang Long’s Upper English Class, said after the event: “My friends and I feel truly happy and grateful that we have been selected for Cathay Pacific’s I Can Fly program. This exciting experience strengthens my dream to pursue a career in aviation in the future as a flight attendant.”

In addition to the kids’ big day out, Cathay Pacific has also awarded scholarships to 25 other children through the Saigon Children’s Charity CIO to help their families cover the tuition costs.


About Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific Airways is an international airline registered and based in Hong Kong, offering scheduled passenger and cargo services to over 200 destinations in Asia, North America, Australia, Europe and Africa, using a fleet of over 200 aircraft. Cathay Dragon, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific which focuses on providing services to destinations across Asia, including more than 20 cities in mainland China. Cathay Pacific is a founder member of the Oneworld global alliance and Cathay Dragon is an affiliate member.

Cathay Pacific currently operates 19 weekly flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Hong Kong, while Cathay Dragon operates 12 weekly flights from Hanoi and 7 weekly flights from Da Nang to Hong Kong.

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On Sunday 16th Dec 2017, Thang Long English and Vocational School (Thang Long School) held the closing ceremony of the 2018 academic year.

On this occasion, guests included Mr. Damien Roberts – Executive Director of saigonchildren, Ms. Nguyen Thi Duy Huong – Head of Programmes of saigonchildren, Ms. Vu Duc Nhi Ha – Corporate Communication of Dragon Capital as well as members from Thang Long School Board – Professor Huynh The Cuoc and Ms. Phan Thanh Thuy Hang – Principal of Thang Long School, all teachers, 60 students, 57 parents and volunteers.The opening ceremony began with the dance “Bong bong bang bang” of the students of dance class contributing to a joyful and lively atmosphere. The Principal of Thăng Long School – Ms. Phan Thanh Thúy Hằng has reported the performance and achievements of the school in 2018. The school had many interesting activities. The quality of teaching is increasing, especially English and Computer classes.  Social activities have shown the children the meaning when serving the community. In 2019, the school will continue to improve the teaching quality for students with disadvantaged backgrounds.

At this ceremony, Mr. Damien Roberts – Executive Director of saigonchildren, the main sponsor for Thang Long School congratulated the students for excellent academic achievements in previous school year and thanked the contribution of teachers as well as the support of parents.

Mr. Huynh The Cuoc, Chairman of the Board of Thang Long School, shared his joy with the success of the school and hoped that more and more disadvantaged children will be supported

On behalf of the students, Phan Thi Tuong Vi, an student of English class who completed Upper-Intermediate level and achieved the title of excellent student, gave a speech in English and Vietnamese to share the feeling about her study and wishes after graduation. The closing ceremony is also an occasion to reward 60 students that have excellent results to encourage them to keep trying in order to reach their full potential and achieve their dreams.

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Sáng Chủ nhật ngày 16/12/2018 tại trường dạy tiếng Anh và dạy Nghề Thăng Long đã diễn ra buổi lễ tổng kết năm học 2018. Góp mặt tại buổi lễ có 60 em học sinh cùng 57 phụ huynh, đại diện nhà tài trợ cùng giáo viên và cộng tác viên. Về phía đại diện trường có sự hiện diện của thầy Huỳnh Thế Cuộc  và cô Phan Thanh Thúy Hằng – Hiệu trưởng trường Thăng Long. Đại diện nhà tài trợ gồm có ông Damien Roberts – Giám đốc tổ chức Saigonchildren, cô Nguyễn Thị Duy Hương – Trưởng phòng Chương trình của saigonchildren và cô Vũ Đức Nhị Hà – Chuyên viên đối ngoại của Dragon Capital.

Buổi lễ mở màn với tiết mục nhảy “Bống bống bang bang” của các em học sinh lớp Nhảy múa hiện đại góp phần tạo nên không khí vui tươi và sinh động. Hiệu trưởng trường Thăng Long – cô Phan Thanh Thúy Hằng đã báo cáo tình hình hoạt động và thành quả của trường trong năm học 2018. Các hoạt động của trường diễn ra sôi động. Chất lượng giảng dạy ngày càng nâng cao, đặc biệt là các lớp tiếng Anh và Vi tính. Các buổi hoạt động xã hội đã cho trẻ thấy được ý nghĩa khi phục vụ cộng đồng. Trong năm 2019, trường sẽ tiếp tục đẩy mạnh chất lượng hoạt động của trường để ngày càng có nhiều trẻ có hoàn cảnh khó khăn đăng ký học tại trường.

Cũng trong buổi lễ ông Damien Roberts – Giám đốc tổ chức saigonchildren, đồng thời là nhà tài trợ chính cho trường Thăng Long chúc mừng các em có thành tích học tập xuất sắc trong năm học vừa qua và cảm ơn sự đóng góp của các giáo viên, cũng như sự ủng hộ của quý phụ huynh trong công cuộc trồng người. Ông hy vọng tất cả các em sẽ học được những điều có ích sau khi tốt nghiệp.

Thầy Huỳnh Thế Cuộc, Chủ tịch Hội đồng quản trị trường Thăng Long chia sẻ niềm vui với những thành công của trường và mong rằng ngày càng nhiều em có hoàn cảnh khó khăn được hỗ trợ.

Về phía đại diện học sinh, em Phan Thị Tường Vi, học sinh lớp tiếng Anh vừa hoàn thành cấp độ Upper-intermediate và đạt danh hiệu học sinh giỏi đã có đôi lời phát biểu bằng tiếng Anh và tiếng Việt để chia sẻ cảm nghĩ suốt thời gian học tại trường và mong muốn sau khi tốt nghiệp.

Tại buổi lễ, 60 em có thành tích học tập khá giỏi trong năm 2018 được nhận quà thưởng của trường. Buổi lễ tổng kết cũng là dịp khen thưởng cho các học viên có thành tích học tập tốt nhằm khuyến khích các em tiếp tục nỗ lực học tập, bồi dưỡng kỹ năng để phát triển năng lực bản thân và theo đuổi ước mơ của mình.

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Thăng Long English and Vocational School has offered hospitality course to disadvantaged youths since 2007 and it is still one of the most popular vocational training courses run by saigonchildren. On 13th December, the 16th hospitality course opening day took place with the participation of Mr. Damien Roberts – Executive Director of saigonchildren, Ms. Nguyễn Thị Thùy Phương – representative from Repsol, staff of Thăng Long school, parents and 22 students.

The hospitality course lasts for 6 months and enables students to study and practise many skills essential to a great career in hospitality such as tables setup, bartending, English communication, computer skills and especially life skills. This knowledge and skill set will help them to be more confident when starting a new job. In addition, saigonchildren also supports young adults to pursue part-time and full-time internships at renowned hotels to enhance their work experience.

In the past 11 years, the professional training course has provided free training to 585 young people living under difficult circumstances. Of the 463 students who have successfully graduated, 86% have stable jobs with higher salaries than the standard income of HCMC

Bảo Trân, one of the students from the 15th hospitality course, is now working at Hương Sen hotel as a receptionist. When being asked to share some thoughts about the hospitality course, she said all the hard work and efforts put into this course would pay off on career path in the future and she was very happy with her current job.

All the students seemed to be very excited about the course. They all wished to develop themselves after this course, achieve their career goals and be able to build a better future.


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Learning to speak English or any foreign language can be a terrifying experience for many of us. Many students do well with grammar but struggle with speaking because of the lack of opportunity to practice. Being well aware of that common problem, Thang Long school organised an English Fun Day, which attracted 79 students on Sunday, 4th November 2018. The event’s aim is to bring our students together for an opportunity to learn and play in English.

Following a theme that highlighted important aspects of Vietnamese culture, games included fun with Vietnamese cuisine, tourism, music and celebrities. A lot of movement games made for a more exciting atmosphere that was full of laughs and fun. Moreover, with the participation of foreign volunteers, students were able to practise listening and communicative skills in English. With the enthusiasm of all students, volunteers, and teachers, the event was a great success.


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Every year, students from Saigon Hospitality and Thang Long English and Vocational Training school have a field trip doing community service  to the Orphanage, Center For Disabled Children and nursing homes. Such extracurricular activities with a great sense of purpose are always well received and  draw a high amount of interest among students.

On 16th August, 54 students from the school participated in the trip to Ho Chi Minh City Vocational Training Center for People with Disabilities and Orphans. They painted the roof awning beams, helped with weeding and planted cassava in the garden. Most of the students found the trip exhausting, yet fun and rewarding because they knew they were doing something meaningful for the people at the centre and their efforts helped to contribute to the community. When being asked about his thoughts about the trip, one student said “The trip did not only give me more perspective about the tough life of underprivileged people, but also made me be grateful every day for what I have.”

(The students are painting the roof awning beams. )

(Everyone was happy with a meaningful day filled with lots of laughter and productivity. )

 In the previous years, students had opportunities to go on field trips to Củ Chi and Phan Thiết. It is a great opportunity for students to get out of their comfort zone, gain a better understanding of life and the struggles of the children at the orphanage, disabled children and the elderly. In addition, the trip also helped them to gain empathy towards their less privileged peers and helped to motivate them to live more responsibly.

The trip ended with a lot of good memories. The students went home with a total openness of mind and heart. Everyone was happy with the new experience and the new lesson on life value from the trip. Saigonchildren hopes they will continue to make contribution to the community because life is not only about receiving, but it is also about giving.

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On 23rd July, 93 students of Thang Long English Club joined the English Fun Day themed “Vietnam’s Culture” with many creative and interesting activities.

 During the day, all students have opportunities to join in many attractive English games related to Vietnam’s culture, including famous tourism spots, Vietnam specialties, sports and festivals. This is one of the regular activities to support students at Thang Long school to develop their presentation skills and teamwork skills as well as to enhance their confidence.


To help facilitate the Fun Day, there are not only teachers of Thang Long school but also many volunteers to participate in the event.

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The English classes at Thang Long School were organised at the very beginning of the establishment of the school in 1994. Most of the students come to Thang Long School are still at school age. They want to be able to communicate in English which they cannot get at their mainstream school. Every year, about 400 students receive support with English communication skills. Various courses are organised based on up to date curricula such as “More” and “New Inside Out” to meet with the suitable levels of the students, which are defined through entry placement testing. The levels include Beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate and Upper Intermediate. After finishing the highest level, students are encouraged to take part in the TOEIC test.

In addition to teaching communicative English, we also provide classes for students of grades 6 to 9 who are not good at English at mainstream school and have very difficult circumstances in District 4.

One of the useful activities for English classes at Thang Long School is the English-speaking sessions where foreign volunteers help students to practise speaking and listening skills. These sessions make a considerable improvement in the communication skills of students.

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Understanding the importance of computer skills and the disadvantage of children with financial difficulties, lack of opportunity for access to computer at home, or participation in computer courses; therefore, Thang Long School has launched the first courses on computer since 2001. These courses have drawn major attraction from young people who cannot afford to take a paid class, and have less experience of informatics. It removes students from the fear of technology, and equips them with basic computer skills for office-based environment at the same time as their confidence in themselves.

In order to improve computer skills of students, as well as prepare them for winning a place in the labour market, Thang Long School has converted the basic training programme for national certificate into a new one based on the curriculum of MOS (short for Microsoft Office Specialist). After 3- to 9-month course, the students will take an exam to achieve MOS certificate in Excel and Word. The aim of this new change is well-equipped students with up-to-date skills for working environment.

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Disadvantaged children and young people have been actually facing to many life challenges than others. All of them have very challenging family backgrounds, suffer lots of pains and losses. They rarely have the opportunity to participate in social activities, which enable them to make new friends, to expose to new things and grow as individuals.

Understanding those basic requirements of life, we organise a number of activities for students based on their needs to enhance their inter-social communication, to build their individual confidence, and to strengthen their hands-on experience of life.

We aim to provide a variety of ways in which children can engage with the world beyond the academic. We offer classes such as art and dance for the children to explore their creative sides and do something that otherwise they have no opportunity to do.

In addition, every year we organise many fieldtrips to give the students a chance to discover the world around them, make new friends, exchange cultures and take a rest from their entire burden of life. Furthermore, thanks to such these trips they can see and understand that there are many other people who have to struggle a lot more in life than they do. Therefore, they need to put more effort and make use of the advantages they have in order to learn, to work and to live usefully.

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