Mr. Michael Ong
Michael graduated with honors from the National University of Singapore in 1995. His 20 years of social work experiences ranged from counseling children with behavioral issues, delinquent youths, and working with parents on family relationships. His passion and excellent work led to his receiving a full-scholarship from the McDonnell International Scholars Academy to pursue a master's degree in social work at the prestigious George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Michael is trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and couple therapy and has experience counseling a diverse group of people from USA, Singapore and Vietnam. He enjoys a nice cup of coffee and reading. He is married and has a teenage daughter.
His family's life among the Vietnamese was featured in a documentary hosted by Belinda Lee called "Find Me a Singaporean."
Mrs. Nguyễn Thị Thùy Trang
Co-founder cum Executive Director
A recent graduate from the University of Labor and Social Affairs, Mrs. Trang participated actively in numerous student projects and won several competitions, including the first prize for a social research competition during her undergraduate days. Her strong leadership and interpersonal skills were demonstrated and recognized when she received certificates of merit from both the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union and the Student Union. She was also the member of a research team sponsored by the Ministry of Labour Invalids and Social Affairs to develop pro-poor policies. Since graduating in 2009, Mrs. Trang’s passion for social work and her desire to serve the disadvantaged continue to be evident through the arrays of community projects she was involved with. Her work experience includes the School Youth Department of The Hanoi Youth Union where she served effectively as a program organizer. Today, she is a valued staff at Live&Learn, a non-profit organization that advocates for environmental friendly practices and promote youth's participation in sustainable development process in Vietnam. She serves as a facilitator in training courses on environmentally sustainable development. Mrs. Trang enjoys reading and a good cup of coffee.
Endorsement for Tea Talk
by Mrs. Mary Wertsch, Author of the book, Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress.
“I really like this idea for its originality and the likelihood it can be effective. In its stigmatization of individuals with mental and emotional problems, Vietnam is like many other countries in Asia and around the world. The result is that people who need help are not helped, and families experience problems that might have been avoidable. The answer is education, of course, but how? That's why I like this idea - it takes the information to the people, where the people are already spending their time. The choice of cafes as the milieu also presents the social issues and the discussion of them in a friendly, positive, non threatening atmosphere. Every society has to start somewhere in addressing needs of this kind; this friendly, disarming approach is a great way to do it.”
Designed by Ling Bentelspacher
The teacups do not occupy a physical space, but rather, take on the shape of teacups amid the negative space. Just as how Tea Talk, though a cafe, takes on a more important role of being a venue for conversation while increasing awareness of major social concerns that are challenging local communities. Solutions can be found in the strength of community as portrayed by the three cups "interacting and communicating" with one another. Evidently, authentic communication comes about as individuals take the step to express their souls to one another in the warm and cozy environment that Tea Talk provides. To find out more about Ling's designs, please visit www.coroflot.com/lingb