The Dariu Foundation turns 20 – the Swiss organization gives hundreds of thousands of children in Southeast Asia access to digital education 

The Dariu Foundation, which is dedicated to providing digital education for disadvantaged children in rural Southeast Asia, has turned 20 years old! Dariu recently received the «Bett Asia 21st Century Learning Award» for its work. To mark its anniversary, the foundation revealed its goals for the future and held a celebratory event to thank its supporters and donors.

The numbers speak for themselves: within the last three and a half years, the Dariu Foundation has provided digital education to 1.2 million children and young people, 50% of whom are girls. The Foundation has also provided 11,000 teachers with relevant professional training. The Dariu Foundation works with 500 schools in rural Vietnam, ensuring that these remote areas are supplied with the necessary laptops and properly trained teachers. Now, the Foundation has received the Bett Asia Award in the «21st Century Learning» category. This award recognizes the efforts of EdTech trendsetters and innovators who are revolutionizing education in the Asia-Pacific region.

20 years ago, Thomas Trüb – who formerly worked with Ringier, building up business in eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa, among other activities – fell in love with Vietnam and, in 2002, founded the Dariu Foundation. When it started out, the Foundation provided microcredits for women and school scholarships for children – always with the aim of enabling families from poor backgrounds to send their children to school. Today, it focuses on equipping children and young people with digital skills such as programming. As a result, these young people not only learn how to code, but also develop skills such as creativity, critical thinking and self-confidence, enabling them to become independent citizens of the world.

«Around ten years ago, we realized that there’s a huge disparity between kids from urban city centers and kids from remote rural regions when it comes to future-oriented education,» says Thomas Trüb, Founder and President of the Dariu Foundation, «In the countryside, there’s not just a lack of access to the Internet itself, but also to the necessary devices and teachers. That’s why since 2012, we’ve been empowering these kids to succeed in a digitalized world by equipping them with skills such as programming.»

  • Dariu now runs 220 of what it calls «Code Clubs», where over 4,000 girls and boys between the ages of nine and 15 receive extensive training, as well as all the materials they need to develop their own projects
  • In 2022, a pilot project for coding schools in kindergartens was launched 
  • In 2021, Dariu became an internationally recognized NGO in Vietnam for its «significant contribution»

Thomas Trüb has set some ambitious goals for the Foundation: by 2027, he wants it to be operating in another eight to 10 countries in Southeast Asia and providing digital education to seven million children.

 Ringier hosts anniversary celebration for Dariu

Ringier has supported the Foundation since its inception, both financially and in the form of in-house expertise – and, for the past year, also by means of corporate volunteers. Ringier employees donate their expertise and time to support the Foundation with a range of projects and activities for which the Foundation does not have enough staff. Dr. Annabella Bassler, CFO of Ringier, and Dr. Manuel Liatowitsch, Group General Counsel and Head Corporate Center at Ringier, are also members of the Foundation Board.

«Around 65% of kids, when they grow up, will end up working in jobs that don’t exist yet,» says Marc Walder, CEO of Ringier. «When it comes to teaching young people about programming, children in rural Vietnam are probably better equipped than many of their European counterparts – and Dariu has played a major part in this. Thomas Trüb has my utmost respect and heartfelt thanks for his tireless efforts.»

The Foundation celebrated its milestone anniversary yesterday, Monday, October 24, in «The Studio» at the Ringier Pressehaus. Viktor Giacobbo attended the event as a surprise guest and conducted an interview with Thomas Trüb on stage.

Ringier AG, Corporate Communications

(Photo: Alberto Venzago)

About Dariu

Since 2002, the Dariu Foundation has been working to improve the opportunities of socially disadvantaged children, mainly in rural Vietnam and Myanmar, by providing them with school education and digital training. For this purpose, the Foundation has built schools and kindergartens in remote areas and provided young people and families with scholarships and microcredits.

In 2012, Dariu shifted its focus onto digital education with the aim of reducing the educational inequality between cities and the countryside, between the wealthy and the poor. Since 2018, Dariu has been revealing the mysteries of programming to children as young as nine years old. To date, the Foundation has taught various programming languages to over a million children, 50% of whom are girls.