Korthao Xaipor embodies the values of diligence and ambition that young people need to succeed. After being recruited by Digital Divide Data (DDD), he harnessed his ambition into a successful IT career that enabled him to support his family and overcome poverty.
Born in Laos’ northeast Xiengkhouan province, Korthao is the eldest in a family of nine children. His parents wanted to send all of them to school, but providing for such a big family was difficult. Determined to get a good education, Korthao and his siblings sold lemongrass and bananas to pay for school fees.
Korthao heard about DDD from a friend who was a project manager there. He immediately applied and was selected. “I felt that this was a big achievement for me to learn real work experience and reduce the cost of school fees for my family,” Korthao said.
DDD recruits young people living in poverty in Laos, Kenya, and Cambodia and trains them to deliver services such as data entry and document conversion to clients worldwide. After a probation period, they are eligible to receive scholarships to pursue higher education while they work. By the time they finish their degrees, their work experience and education make them competitive for well-compensated, dignified work opportunities.
Since 2010, Cisco has provided product grants to help DDD improve its technology infrastructure, expand its programs, and train and employ more young people.
Education and experience create opportunity
Korthao completed six months of training, then worked at DDD for three years as a data management operator and ultimately as a team leader for digitization projects. He honed his communications skills, improved his English, and gained experience leading a team. His work enabled him to pay for his university education while equipping him with employable skills.
When Korthao graduated in 2013, he quickly found a job. He credits his DDD experience for his employability. “My friend and I graduated from the same university in the same year,” he said. “Because of my three years of work experience at DDD, I was able to get a higher position of network engineer while he was hired as an assistant engineer because he didn’t have any work experience while he was studying.”
Today, Korthao is an application and software engineer for a multinational telecommunications provider. At 25, he is financially independent and supports his family and his siblings’ education. His experience at DDD enabled him to fulfill his dreams to develop employable skills, earn an income, complete his education, and get into the promising field of software engineering–paving the way for his family to break free of poverty.
Originally published by Cisco CSR