Supporting Small Business to Save Lives in Vietnam

NTL kids boat


We are happy to announce that 3rd Creek Foundation (3CF) made its first Program Related Investment (PRI) in January of 2015. In partnership with the Arthur B. Schultz Foundation, we provided funding to Nam Thang Long (NTL), a Vietnamese social enterprise that manufactures unique lifevest backpacks for schoolchildren.

Backpacks help children transport their materials to and from school and often give kids a sense of pride in their studies. NTL lifevest backpacks go an unusual step further: they prevent childhood drowning by operating as life jackets.

NTL kids ferry

Drowning is a significant cause of childhood mortality, particularly in parts of Asia where flooding is common and infrastructure is underdeveloped. In Vietnam, it is estimated that 32 children perish from drowning each day. Many of these incidents take place during children’s commutes to school, which often involve crossing waterways. To help solve this problem, Mrs. Dinh Thi Song Nga, owner of NTL, developed the lifevest backpack to include a flotation device, thus operating as a life jacket in the event a child wearing it is submerged in water.

NTL Nga Portrait

This PRI will cover a two-year period and will help NTL expand to a second production facility to meet increased demand for its product. NTL is a former participant in the Thriive program.

PRIs are tools for foundations to both support charitable activities and potentially recover a below market rate of return on the investment.

We are especially thankful to all the stakeholders involved in this process, including the Arthur B. Schultz Foundation, CEDS-VNU, Fashion4Freedom, Thriive, and NTL.