Newsletter No.02 Jan. 2004
Mung Nam Moi or Happy Vietnamese New
Year. This will be the year of the monkey and starts on January the
22nd. Thank you very much for your positive reactions and
encouragements after our first Solar Serve newsletter. Yesterday we
were trilled to hear Mr. Huynh Nam, Chairman of the Danang People's
Committee confirming the theme our last newsletter: “Danang
will be the 21th Century ‘gateway’ for Vietnam and the Asian region.
This passageway will lead to important areas such as Thailand North
West, Laos, Cambodia to West-highland and central region in Vietnam,
and further more to India North, China South, and Myanmar”.
We hope that this gateway will become a beautiful royal ‘kingsway’ in
In this second newsletter
we would like to tell you more
about our solar cooker project. We have made a colorful solar cooking
folder in English and Vietnamese and here is an example of the front
and back page. Give us your full name and address and we will send an
English copy to you.
Vietnam is rich in solar
Many people in Vietnam still
depend on coal,
straw, leaves or wood for cooking. Open fires contribute to air
pollution and cause lung and eye diseases owing to people spending time
in hot and smoky kitchens. This traditional cooking method also compels
women and children to walk for hours each day to find wood for daily
cooking. Vietnam is rich in solar energy. Every year it receives
1400-2000 hours of sunshine in the north and 2000-3000 hours in the
central and southern part, but not many people take advantage of solar
energy for daily cooking.
A basic solar cooker is needed
Only one basic solar
cooker is needed to save lives, money,
time and even the environment. Since 2000, our solar cookers for
cooking food have been introduced in several districts in Quang Nam
province. Five hundred families have been provided and almost 79% are
using these solar cookers frequently. People have been able to save
money (20%), time and even improve their health.
Teaching and training
The use of solar cookers requires
cooking habits, food, and food preparations. Therefore our staff set up
a solar cooking training program. The aim is to provide teaching and
training through workshops, home visits and group meetings. Over the
years, local people have progressively adopted solar cooking as an
alternative cooking method.
Factories and new ideas
When we start a project in the
small factory is set up. Local handicapped and poor people will be
employed. New ideas will be researched and introduced. This year we
opened a factory for the new parabolic solar cookers. We are also
researching solar stills, an old solar technology by distilling
brackish and seawater into clean water. On International Environment
days the participants of the local workshops give demonstrations in
This solar cooking
project started in 1997 when five square
models from Holland were made and tested in northern Vietnam. In 2000
we came in contact with the University of Danang and started officially
this Solar Serve project. The aim is to benefit poor families and
support local handicapped and poor workers in building solar cookers.
We are non-profitable and therefore the solar cookers are not for sale.
Katu ethnic minority
One of the challenges for
2004 is the start of a solar cooker
project in a new area. Last week, some of our staff visited one of the
Katu villages. The Katu people are one of the fifty-three ethnic
minorities in Vietnam. Lately, the government moved some of the Katu
villages to the countryside. Our staff will consider working with them.
It requires a new approach. Their culture is different of the
Vietnamese and we do not yet know what they think about cooking with
the “sun”. The Katu are known to be very superstitious.
Keep in touch!
Please be with us during this year. It is great to serve in
the presence of the Sun. Keep in touch!
Solar Serve team
Called to Serve