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Newsletter No.55 July 2018
In the last few
months Solar Serve seemed to be a hiding place for animals. We caught a
snake in our center but it was eaten soon by our tribal workers. We
also had a monkey but it was aggressive and attacking people. Finally
we had to bring it back to the forest. Our neighbors donated an
aquarium, but some of the fish could not leave others alone and needed
to be separated. A cloud of termites filled one worker’s room, eating
lots of paper and wood. Also other animals invaded our center but bad
things turned for good and here are some of our exciting stories.
Producing our own covers
There has been a demand for more clean
stoves in Vietnam and across the borders. In our last letter we told
you that we were not able to make the covers of our stoves anymore.
After being mistreated by a dishonest company we asked a retired
engineer to design a machine for us so we could make the covers by
ourselves. Together with his son, he came up with two heavy machines
for cutting and pressing. They have been installed already and after
some changes, we have cut and pressed thousands of covers ourselves
already. Now we are no longer dependent on others in producing a good
Myanmar and Cambodia
Our friendship with the
people in Myanmar is expanding. After they opened their own factory, we
provided for training and assistance. They are not yet able to make
certain parts due to a lack of materials or machines in their country.
So, we were able to cut and press with our new machines 2000 covers and
bottoms for them and shipped it already to Myanmar. We also have been
working together with a company in Cambodia and provided hundreds of
stoves already. They are able to sell them to local people with
discounts or loans. Their vision is 100,000 clean stoves by the year
An outing never to forget
We don’t always have an
opportunity for an outing with all of our workers. We were invited to
join a gathering of likeminded people in Saigon. A man who has been
working all over the world inspired us to widen our vision. His
teaching was with compassion and he challenged us to expand our work to
other countries. After the gathering we took the opportunity to visit
the Mekong Delta. We stayed in Can Tho and early in the morning we
hired a boat and visited the floating market, and also a village where
noodles were made and a beautiful garden of trees, flowers and animals.
In the meantime we watched the 2018 world cup together and everyone got
a nice T-shirt with a picture of our group printed on it. An outing
never to forget!
This year lots of
opportunities were created by FBT in teaching families and even ex-drug
addicts how to create a healthy business. Many have failed in the past
or have been misused by others. Therefore it was important to restore
their confidence in order to start again with good principles. It’s
amazing how that has changed many of the participants of this course.
The last few years we have been training many families of small
enterprises in the north, middle and south of Vietnam. Now there are so
many success stories to tell and we hope you get inspired by some of
them. It changed many lives.
A dream became reality
Mr. Ngoc had a lot of compassion for
deaf people in finding a good job for them. One day he had a dream
where he had opened a fast food restaurant for deaf people to work. So
he learned to cook and got the sign language under control. But one day
he was abused by one of the deaf. He was so hurt that he wanted to stop
working with them right away. During this time he became father of a
child that turned out to be deaf. He loved the child so much that he
became aware that his calling for life was still working with the deaf.
When he followed our FBT course, he was encouraged in picking up his
dream again, so he started a fast food restaurant. His dream became
reality and now he is helping many deaf people.
No one taught me before
Mr. Hai is skillful in
wood carving. He began to make Agar products and sold them in China. He
was very successful. But he made a mistake by not signing a contract.
Very quickly he was bankrupt because the other company could not pay
him. He then had to close his business. When he attended one of the FBT
seminars, he quickly learned what his strengths and weaknesses were. He
also was able to analyze his chances and avoid dangerous discussions.
When he realized how important this was, he wondered why no one had
ever taught him before. It’s great when people discover new things!
Turn into something valuable
Mrs. Van had a successful business.
Unfortunately she was misled by dishonest people and lost her entire
income. Her husband also ran away and her son became addicted to drugs.
She felt hopeless and eventually she wanted to end her life. One day
she met a good friend who told her that there was hope. It changed her
life. Later she heard about the family business training course. She
registered as a student and learned so many new things and how to set
up a new company with the right principles and concepts. Now she is so
grateful and able to turn her past into something which is valuable for
New worker and the need of
A Meo (20yrs) belongs to
the Jeh minority. There are lots of temptations for young people, so
one of the leaders advised him to get away and work with us. One day he
showed up. It worked out well, because we could see that he has the
ability to become a skillful worker. After a few weeks he did not want
to go back anymore. Furthermore we need protection when we are working
in our factory and transporting materials. A rubber band broke on Duy’s
motorbike which caused a sheet of metal to hit his leg. The wound
needed 7 stiches but fortunately he was able to move again after 10
Representing our work
In the coming month of
September two of our staff will represent our work during an
International conference in Thailand. They purchased a stand and will
share the three main involvements of Solar Serve namely Charity, Social
Enterprise and Training. We love to expand our work more to other Asian
countries and even beyond. In our next letter we will tell you more.
Preparing for Charity
A new season of typhoons has just
started. Mostly it comes together with heavy rainfall and flooding. We
need to be prepared because one of our three purposes is Charity.
Especially we should have clean cookers available in our storage. This
is another task we have to face, because we need to be fast and react
quickly. Also a woman involved of charity work came to visit us and
connected us with an organization which is ready to help in disasters.
It should be great if we can work together.
Visit from USA
Two American ladies, friends of Solar
Cookers International came to visit us. One of them writes cookbooks.
Their visit was short but wonderful. They were especially interested in
our solar box cooker. We have these cookers still in our showroom but
unfortunately we are not using them in our projects anymore. Vietnamese
are fast, but cooking with box cookers needs a lot of patience. It will
not always encourage people to use them daily. But we are very grateful
for these cookers because this is how it all began for us, more than 21
years ago. We are still excited in making products to save lives and
Support through all those
Maybe you are wondering how we can
manage our work for so long without being in debt. First of all this
letter has never been written for any support. If you have never
supported us, you are still our friends. Through this letter we want to
inspire you not to give up your dreams and learn to stand up and go on
when it is difficult.
Because of this, friends are still
by many means. For example by walking or running marathons, organizing
flea markets, rewards, presenting our work in clubs, schools, churches
and organizations. Also generous people came to visit us and several
times we inherited money from friends who passed away. Sometimes we can
make small profits, but we are still very thankful for all the support.
We already mentioned in this letter
about our family business training, but during the last few months we
were also invited to teach business students in Hanoi. Some of them
were already involved in fulltime businesses. A few students lacked
strength for future opportunities, so it was good to empower them. We
also discovered that they still walked around with wrong concepts of
money and prosperity. It needed to be adjusted in order to be effective
in helping others when they live in difficult circumstances. It was
good that they were able to discover their talents and gifts. There is
often a big change in their lives.
Video (Click on
We want to show you a short video with
our new cutting and pressing machines and the production of our
improved clean stove. Although our new machines will make our work a
little bit easier, there is still a lot of work to do by hand in order
to complete the whole clean stove, like cutting, folding, rolling,
welding, painting, assembling and packing. So enjoy the short video but
also know that it’s not complete yet.
We hope you enjoyed our
letter. Maybe by the end of the year we will give you an update of how
many clean stoves we have made and how many are used in Vietnam and
other countries. Take care and thanks for your friendship.
Called to Serve