4HWW Readers' School in Vietnam Opens its Doors — Time for a Trip?


Napping after lunch at the new Vang Lam preschool in Vietnam. So cute a lumberjack would cry.

Remember LitLiberation, the social media educational experiment I ran with bloggers not long ago?

With zero financing or hard costs, this new model ended up raising more than $250,000 in less than a month, more than Stephen Colbert, TechCrunch, and Engadget combined during that same period.

Hundreds and thousands of you participated and spread the word, helping thousands of children in fundamental life-altering ways.

Here is one fun new example: our first school in Vietnam has been completed and is now full of pre-schoolers!

Funding was raised on this pledge page, and top donors are featured on a plaque at the main entrance to the school, with a few names going on a second school that is under construction as we speak.

For an incredible look at detailed maps, feedback from teachers, “challenge grant” specifics and more, I strongly recommend you take a look at the 4-page completion report. It’s a great example of how accountable giving should work.

It will amaze you how much $2-5 USD matters to people in a rural village. The real-world feedback highlights the enormous impact this school and its sister school — created by you all — will have on 500+ students this year and next.


How would you like to add the final $170 for a school in Nepal? Here is your chance. [Postscript: Though it’s not displaying properly, this school is now 100% funded! Thank you!]

If you want to build your own school — trust me, it can be done — then click on “I want a page like this” or check out the how-to on this page.

I’ll be planning trips to both Vietnam and Nepal to visit these and other schools. Bigger and bolder plans to come in the next six months or so.

You guys rock. Here’s visible proof.

Long live karmic capitalism.

Posted on: April 23, 2008.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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97 comments on “4HWW Readers' School in Vietnam Opens its Doors — Time for a Trip?

  1. Awesome job Tim, I was curious though about whether my name was going to be placed on the door( as it was stated on the ebay auction) ? Just curious, I am by no means trying to be selfish.

    Hi Jose!

    Not selfish at all. Your name will actually be put onto the Nepalese school(s) and given even more prominence! Hope all is well, and thank you so much again for your generosity towards the schools.

    All the best,



  2. Tim,

    Congratulations! That is awesome. I was not able to contribute but will do so next time. What an awesome thing to do. You can change the world like this!

    I’m sure you’ve read the book, Three Cups of Tea, about a climber (can’t remember his name off the top of my head) who built 1 and now many schools in Pakistan. If you haven’t, go buy it and read it. Great story.

    Your story is as inspiring as his.

    I truly believe that education is the key to solving all the world’s woes and stopping terrorism, emperialism and every other ‘ism that is tearing this world apart.

    Thank you for your good work and may God Bless you richly for this!


  3. I added to the coffer. :) I feel good already! I hope the kids in Nepal will enjoy books and a desk as much as I did. I have to day I wish when I was growing up I had more teachers and my Mom challenge me more. I think students when pushed realize their potential due to good stress. I may not have wanted an ulcer but a pat on butt to say I could do it and that I would do it would have given my educational career more strengths I bloomed later in life.

    I recently read about an awesome school in the U.S. It is in just outside Boston. It’s a chart public school called The Academy of the Pacific Rim. http://www.pacrim.org/
    It’s enrollment starts at the 6 grade level, however many of the kids at that level can not even read or write. At the end of their schooling with discipline and attention and challenge nearly all are Ivy League ready or college bound. Amazing!

    I have worked in educational publishing more many years. I know the errors that go into text books and test prep materials. Personally I feel No Child Left Behind doesn’t build true skills and is a way to take away money from schools that don’t test high (most kids in the worst districts aren’t at a proper reading level to begin with) so to fail kids when the system has been failing them is frustrating. Inner city and rural school systems need to be creative and have cooperation from the tax payers and parents. Since it seems like education is a passion of yours Tim, maybe a little insight on how any of us can do to help reform our own backyard as well would be awesome!

    Love and Hugs,


  4. Hi Tim,

    I got emotional when I read this post. It feels incredible to give and thank you for making it all possible. When you plan your trip to Vietnam, will you let the donors know? I’d love to visit there with everyone.

    Thanks again,


  5. Donor’s choose has also been an awesome charity that I have enjoyed participating in. It is really a good feeling to receive pictures of these classrooms and know that you are helping them out.

    Lets keep changing the world together a book at a time…….

    Jose Castro-Frenzel


  6. Hi Tim,

    I am one of the guys who helped fund this particular project and I am so happy to see it completed successfully. You’ve initiated a wonderful thing and I am grateful for the opportunity to help.

    You mention in the post that you will be traveling to Vietnam and Nepal to visit the schools. I’d love to take the same trip and I’m wondering if we can coordinate so we are there at the same time.


  7. Tim,

    My brother and some of his friends run a foundation that builds schools in Vietnam, just like the one you built. They have had several built so far, and the impact has been tremendous.

    I know that this school will make a huge difference to a lot of people.

    How do I know? A couple months I visited one just like it. Same color. Same kind of plaque.

    The children there were so happy!

    Here’s the website for the foundation my brother works on:



  8. Tim oi!

    Congratulations on the opening of your first school in Vietnam. Having lived in Vietnam for 13 years, I know how much this project will help to change those kids’ lives. I’m hoping that you might spare some energy & creativity for another Vietnamese tot, Phung Thien Nhan, who was abandonned at birth and mauled by a wild dog, resulting in the loss of his leg, penis and testicles.

    He was recently adopted by a great Vietnamese family and I’m trying to help them to get Nhan all of the body parts/care that he’ll need for a good life. Any ideas? Our blog is at http://help-thien-nhan.blogspot.com/

    Thanks! Elka & Mai Anh


  9. Tim,
    Fantastic! I like that you always provide new ideas that test the realm of what we normally consider possible! I only wish I knew of more websites like yours… there are tons of blogs, but few deliver content like this one.
    Thanks, Lukas


  10. “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

    “Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.” — John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

    Well done everyone!


  11. it’s really funny you mention vietnam. A friend at work bummed out in Vietnam for a year on very little money. He fell in love with the Vietnamese people. All he can think about now is stashing away enough cash to bum out there for another year.


  12. Mortgage Pledge is a new social venture company I have started that gives back to the charities of clients involved in the residential real estate or mortgage transaction. We will launch in July formally, but are beginning to operate the program in beta mode in Omaha, NE now. I am going to make sure this cause is one of the featured charities when we go live. Both my parents were educators and my wife. I know the power of education in changing lives.



  13. Amazed and overly pleased to see both Tim and John Wood of Room to Read combining forces. John is a fellow prominent get it done type. I missed the pledge period and assure you these kids are in great hands with everyone here involved.


  14. Hi Tim,
    I donated the amount you offered. Dont know if someone beat me to it though. Good job on this by the way! Great to see people giving like this. Concentrated and effective donation! All charities should follow this model.

    This also reminds of the efforts of John Wood which I read about in
    “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children”.

    Again great job! Keep at it!



  15. I meant to say “I donated the amount you advertised” and NOT the following:
    “I donated the amount you offered.”.
    Sorry about that.