The project: Conservation café!
Mr. Hai wants to get the message out to local people
"We understood each other about what's good and bad for the country. We kept talking about conservation for about six months and then I decided to volunteer to help out," explains Mr. Hai. "I just have a little café, but when I saw the opportunity to do something, I just went for it."
Many of the tourists who visit his café are familiar with WWF and want to know what the organization is doing in Vietnam. They look at the photographs, take the pamphlets and appreciate the information displayed in the café. Some want to leave a donation and are told to give to WWF in their home countries.
Mr. Hai doesn't doubt that some of his patrons come to the café because of its promotion of WWF's work, but Mr. Hai denies that that is his motivation. "Sure it's good for business, but the most important thing is my country. The business is secondary," he stresses.
"A lot of young Vietnamese understand the importance of protecting the environment and the animals for the future but sometimes we don’t have the opportunity to do anything because the economy is so hard."
"Even as students, we know about the environment, but we don't have any power to do anything. But we are the young people and we really want to do something," he says.
People are doing something though. Restaurants in town used to serve wildlife but not anymore, say Mr. Hai. People were very poor, he explains, but then "they realized they had something very beautiful and as more tourists came, people understood the need to protect their culture."
"Now," he says, "a lot of people understand how equally important the environment is and the need to protect it too."