Newsletter No.36 Apr. 2013
change affected Vietnam a few weeks ago, when over 10,000 houses were
damaged and at least 26 people were injured during a hail storm in the
northern Lao Cai province. Hail may fall during the transitional period
between dry and wet seasons, but hailstones measuring up to 10 cm in
diameter are very rare. It reminded us again that we as Solar Serve
should make products in order to protect the environment and also, when
a disaster hits the country, we can provide simple and effective
solutions. For example: What can be used when there is no water, gas,
electricity or other necessities after a disaster? Please share with us
your ideas too and we will be happy to think it over.
Clean Cooking Forum in Cambodia.
Although we are still
producing solar cookers, we would like
to improve our cleanstoves with better and more durable material.
Sometimes we are limited in what we have. Importing material from other
countries is not always the best solution in keeping the price down. So
Bich attended the Clean Cooking Forum in Cambodia in the third week of
March to explore the possibilities. It was also good for him to meet
some people from the Solar Cooking Forum of 2006 in Spain. The main
focus of this forum was the global adoption of clean cooking solutions.
By 2020,100 million households should have access to these
environmentally friendly cooking stoves. Many organizations are behind
it and even former secretary of state Hillary Clinton is a great
supporter. During the many discussions and presentations there was a
display of many clean stoves outside the hotel. People were surprised
by the simplicity of our stove. We found out that using bio-pellets for
fuel was very effective. Bich came back with lots of ideas. He also
found out that an organization had used our parabolic model for
producing hundreds of parabols in Cambodia. It was very encouraging
that so many people are using our model. More reports on Youtube
People visiting us
we receive visitors or groups who do not contribute any new ideas for
our work, but they are very important for us because of their
encouragements and support. Regularly we get tour groups from Australia
for 30 minutes to visit our center. Their excitement gives us always a
great boost to carry on. One group of eight students from Korea came to
visit us in January. They not only loved our work but also loved the
culture, food and even Vietnamese coffee. They were able to help in a
school for handicapped children and also came to visit our center and
encouraged our staff. It was hard for them to leave, but their visit
was a major highlight for us and also for
Thuy Vy has done our
accounting since the end of 2010. She
got married and is expecting a baby now. She asked if she could be
released by working fewer hours at our center. We found Thanh, a
student who will graduate this summer from University as an accountant.
As part of his study he has to practice with a company and we agreed
that he could do this at Solar Serve. Just in time when Thuy Vy wants
to be more released. He is a great guy and he fits into our work well.
Another need came when
Vu, our last deaf worker wanted to
change his job. We were concerned that he could not fit into his new
environment, but we were also sad to lose a dear friend and excellent
worker. Soon after that we were introduced to mister Dang from a
southern province. He just arrived in Danang to find work. He already
had years of working experience and we accepted him right on the spot.
After this Vu told us that after seeing his new environment and the
difficult condition he had to work in, he decided to stay on with us.
We were very happy and saw it as a confirmation that some good things
will be in store for the coming years.
one foreigner working as a technical advisor at our center. Hans is
from Holland and has been in Vietnam for many years. It has not always
been easy to get a visa or work permit for him, but this year he
experienced favor with the authorities. After the Vietnamese New Years
celebrations in February, Mr.Bich as director of Solar Serve had to
apply for an extension for his work permit. After a few minor changes,
they allowed Hans to work for three years more. But this was not the
end. A work permit does not guarantee a permit to stay in Vietnam. This
needed to be applied separately. This has not been easy the last years,
but Bich experienced favor again with the authorities this year and in
a short time he came back with a permit for one year. They were even
willing to give two years, but the passport of Hans expired before the
two years, so they could not give it. We were amazed and are thankful
for all this favor.
Bich and Thang were
invited to a conference where government
officials were present. The main focus was to understand social
entrepreneurs. The goal of a social enterprise is to help people and to
influence social life. They are not focused on profit. It was explained
very clearly by a professor who visited Solar Serve a few years ago.
That time he was so surprised that we could do this work without any
support from the government. During the conference the officials were
very interested and listened carefully. They finally understood that
social entrepreneurs have a completely different approach. They
promised to work on new laws, so that social entrepreneurs could be
officially supported in the near future. Bich showed a power point
presentation and talked about the ups and downs of Solar Serve as a
social enterprise. Bich and Thang had the impression that they were
really listening well.
our center for two weeks during the Vietnamese New Year’s celebrations
in February. We finished the year with a nice meal and a special bonus
for our staff.
We received a box of
secondhand earphones and some glasses
from some donors for the lepers (see last newsletter).
our old Solar Serve brochure (English- Vietnamese) for the conference
Cambodia. The day before Bich left, it was finished and could be
printed in time.
We sent our new smaller parabolic cooker, a clean stove and
hundreds of dragon flies to a support group, in order to use them for
fairs, exhibitions and support.
We are still excited in
what we are doing. The road is not
easy, but there are some breakthroughs and new ideas that keep us
Well, that’s all for
now! Thanks for standing