Anne Marie Green and her business partner Ian Kelly have launched a range of school and sports bags to help improve the lives of the children of Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam.
Anne Marie Greene (28) and her business partner Ian Kelly (26), who are both from Bray, launched DUC, a range of colourful junior bags, school bags and sports kit bags with the aim of creating opportunities for vulnerable Vietnamese children.
Working in partnership with the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation, DUC – a shortened version of the Vietnamese word for education, giáo duc – is a one-for-one business model that pays for vaccinations, school kits, and local swimming lessons.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death among children in Vietnam with 32 children dying from drowning every day in the country.
What inspired you to launch DUC?
Ian and I are both Irish, Christina Noble herself is Irish too, so naturally, it grew organically from here.
Was it difficult to get retailers to support your idea?
No, it wasn’t, retailers like Arnotts and Mira Mira, have a tremendous sense of corporate social responsibility and our business model fit in with their CSR ethos. Of course, the fact that DUC doesn’t just donate a profit percentage to a charity but gives an actual tangible product to a child in Vietnam made it a no-brainer for a lot of the companies we approached. They have all been incredibly supportive of our venture and have become as passionate about the brand as we are.
“Nothing can be achieved without education; it is the most powerful tool.”
What was it like visiting Vietnam for the first time?
Vietnam is such an incredible country, outside the city, the countryside is stunningly beautiful, and the cities themselves are vibrant and bustling. What I was unprepared for, was the level of poverty that exists. In the