History of OpenM
OpenM was founded in early 2016 by the former executive director of the NGO, Madeleine Cao. On graduating from International Trade, Madeleine was not excited about the fields of sales and marketing, so instead she embraced the idea she had for launching her own organisation of which the aim was to arrange free volunteering in Vietnam. As dedicated as she was, Madeleine rejected many decent working opportunities in big corporations such as a sales assistant at The Coffee Bean and Tealeaf (American coffee chain with 900 stores in 25 countries), or as a marketing manager in Hanoi’s Sapporo Beverage (the oldest Japanese brand from 1876 with the best-selling Asian beer in the US), which otherwise would have provided her with a very satisfying and stable income. Meanwhile, Madeleine was too occupied with working for event-, media-, fast consumption-, and training companies. However, after two years and 11 jumps in career, she left it all behind in advantage to her full dedication to and attendance of the IMPACT project in France in 2013 – sponsored by European Union (Eurasianet). The project was a research of trends and measures of the contribution to target groups in international volunteering projects. When she returned to Vietnam, she joined the French NGO as a project coordinator – where she worked for five years.
During her time at the NGO, Madeleine managed to expand her working experience to ten different countries and ended up having worked with more than 2000 international volunteers, but despite her accomplishments within organisations she aspired towards the enabling of volunteering service completely free of charge. Therefore, once again the ambitious leader turned her back to the safe and secure frames of a stable job and fixed income and challenged herself with the founding of OpenM – a social company, operating in training fields in Ho Chi Minh. With 11 years of experience in humanitarian aid, and three years of project management for disabled and ethnic minorities in Vietnam, Madeleine has expert knowledge of how to create the ultimate synergy between the locals in need of help and the volunteers.
At OpenM, volunteers from all over the world will be welcomed free of charge and be provided with free accommodation and food for their time volunteering. The only requirement that OpenM has in return is your engagement and commitment for a minimum of four months.
Besides business activities for income, OpenM involves in social activities such as:
- Livelihood support solutions for the poor, ethnic minorities and disabled
- Clean water, sanitation and food for children living in poverty
- Waste management and climate change solutions
- Non-formal and free education for less advantaged children & youth (vocational training, English)
- Connections with the INGOs in Ho Chi Minh City about youth development
OpenM‘s projects allow volunteers to live like a local, get a first hand experience of the Vietnamese culture, develop one's individual skills and global citizen responsibilities by solution contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs).