About a month ago, Stephen an Expat from Hanoi, asked me about the modifications on my Yamaha Nouvo LX. He wanted to make the same modifications on his motorbike but it was difficult for him to find a good shop up in Hanoi. Later I got an email for him, VIP Bikes, run by the nonprofit Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, was able to add the bigger tires that he wanted. Stephen emailed me some pictures of VIP Bikes and his Yamaha Nouvo LX. I also included more information about VIP Bikes so please support if you are up in Hanoi.
(Alleyway in front of VIP Bikes)
(Andrew and his mechanics)
(New rear tire 80X100)
(Close hot, really nice rear tire)
(New front tire – 80X90)
(Bigger tires make the Nouvo LX look stronger)
Fact Sheet: VIP Bikes
Most children and youth working on Hanoi’s streets are economic migrants who have travelled from rural areas of Vietnam in search of a better future. However, street work inevitably means dropping out of school, thereby compounding poverty, and street children are highly vulnerable to many dangers in addition to arrest, such as prostitution and drugs.
Vocational training opportunities are largely inaccessible to street children. By their very nature, street children are usually poor, and cannot afford to pay the fees. Even more importantly, when street children can afford the fees, they may not be able to afford to take time off from their work. Pressing needs such as food and accommodation must take priority over the desire for training and a good career!
Street children enrolled in regular vocational training courses also struggle to ‘fit in’ and may even be ostracised by their teachers and other students.
With these problems in mind, Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation established VIP Bikes as a social enterprise in April 2008. Our goal is simple: to create high-quality training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth in Hanoi.
How VIP Bikes helps…
VIP Bikes trains disadvantaged youth in a range of practical skills associated with operating a motorbike rental business. This includes motorbike mechanics, marketing, accounting, sales and administration. Related skills, such as welding and spray painting, are taught on demand.
Training opportunities are in the context of a real business: they are hands-on and authentic, with full support from qualified staff.
VIP Bikes staff are not only expert in their industry; they also understand disadvantaged youth and the difficulties they face.
How VIP Bikes works…
VIP Bikes operates as a ‘high-end’ motorbike rental and repair company. As a business, our goal is to lead the market in quality of service and customer satisfaction. While the scooters we rent out on monthly contracts are the same that other businesses rent out, we differentiate ourselves by providing free monthly services overseen by an expatriate mechanic, and a consistently high standard of care.
Our business model operates in tandem with training for disadvantaged youth. Trainees learn by watching, assisting and finally doing for themselves, while also learning the basic theory and workshop practices.
Once the trainees have mastered key competencies, Blue Dragon staff then support them to apply for jobs and start down the road to independence.