Ian and I are the founders of DUC, and we have been living in Ho Chi Minh City for the last year. While we are based in Vietnam we want to take the opportunity to meet with other social enterprises that are helping the people of Vietnam. After carrying out some research we discovered that there were quite a few based in the capital city, Hanoi.
Our first stop was to Imagator, a company that provides image processing services and at the same time creates well paid jobs for people with disabilities.
After meeting in their office we learned that there was a very interesting story behind the creation of Imagtor. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet the founder herself but we had a lovely Imagtor employee Laura to show us around.
As soon as we entered the office space we were greeted with a very calm and positive atmosphere. All the staff were busy working away on their computers, completely oblivious to our presence. A number of the staff were wheelchair users while others had some physical difficulties. We were excited to be there and could not wait to sit down with Laura to find out more about this amazing company.
The founder, Thao Van and her brother Cong Hung were both born with spinal muscular atrophy which resulted in them both needing to use wheelchairs. They both experienced difficulties growing up which made them even more determined to succeed in life.
Cong Hung studied computer science and in 2006 went on to open up ‘The Will to Live Centre’ in Hanoi to guide and teach disabled people computer science for free.
Van’s interest was in Graphic Design and she worked for a Danish graphic design company until 2009 when she decided to quit to help her brother manage the centre.
Sadly, Van’s brother passed away which left her to manage the centre herself. Her main concern was the centre’s financial stability as it depended on money from sponsors. In 2016, she decided she wanted more financial stability for the centre so she set up Imagtor. The students attend the centre for 3 to 6 months learning different programmes such as Photoshop and Illustrator as well as general computer skills. When they are trained they get employment in Imagtor or their partner company – ESOFTFLOW.
Imagtor is proof that diversity and equality can have huge benefits for businesses. Out of the 35 full time staff, 60% have disabilities, this is a completely unique statistic both in Asia and globally. Imagtor is an inspiration for us at DUC HQ but should be held up as a shining example to businesses across the world.