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Newsletter No.59 July 2019
Thousands of cooking
stoves were piled up in our center. What a relief
when we received the news that the people in the north got permission
to hand out the stoves in rural areas. Immediately we were able to ship
several containers full with cooking stoves to Haiphong. We were also
happy that the main sponsor from Korea did not hold back after this
delay and helped us financially so we were able to pay our workers, buy
the right material and purchase new equipment. It worked out very well.
What a blessing!
A few weeks ago we
received a call from someone in Hoa Binh, a province
80 km south of Hanoi. Most of the 30,000 cooking stoves were
distributed to the poor population in this area (picture Hoa Binh). He
introduced himself as a spokesman of the people, to thank us for the
great cooking stoves that people are now using. They are very happy
with it. They no longer have to use their primitive cooking stoves.
These stoves have been damaging their health. It was so encouraging for
us to know that this project helped many poor people.
The end of this project
comes closer. Last week we shipped the 8th
container to Haiphong (750 km) and it will be transported on the road
to Hoa Binh. Now we are working hard for the last shift, then a total
of 9 containers have been sent. We do not yet know what will happen
next. This whole experience of making these stoves in a short time was
great. It has given us good insight about what we can handle. We
believe that this cooking stove is a good product for people in rural
areas. It also helped that the stoves are officially approved and
certified by SNV.
How did it all
A Korean company was
looking for a project in order to receive credits
from their government if they helped people in another country with
green products. A CEO of a company in Hanoi worked as a mediator and
after that everything was settled very fast. We had to adjust our
equipment and capacity, but we were able to accomplish their request.
Maybe it gives you a suggestion to do the same. We are willing to make
more of these green stoves. This is our goal, but it needs courage from
your side. We are ready for it. Please contact our director Mr.Bich
(pronunciation: Big) if you need any information: Mb: +84 919
511 552 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How does it
We manufacture the
cooking stoves at our center in Danang. After three
to four weeks we are able to ship a full container with more than 3000
cooking stoves to your place. It is recommended that you should work
together with the local women’s union at your place to distribute the
stoves. The organization in the north has been giving away our stoves
for free. This is up to each organization. We are responsible to make
the stoves and transport them to the place for distribution. Here are
some pictures sent to us how the people receive their stoves in the
Changing our name
We have been using Solar
Serve as our name for more than 19 years. But
we often have to explain that our cooking stoves do not work on solar
energy as our name suggests. We are still making green products but at
the moment not using solar energy as our main source. To keep our green
vision wide open we need to change our name in order not to limit
ourselves. We came up with a suitable name, but it still needs to be
officially approved. Hopefully in our next letter we can tell you our
new name and logo. After that we will start changing our website, logo,
papers and folders, etc.
We are learning
Small investments mean a
lot for us, like purchasing our new cutting
machine. We made a roof outside our center, so our cutting-material is
protected from bad weather. We move the heavy rolls with a tripod crane
into a rotator. Several workers are needed to cut the material. One day
we found out that we were cutting the wrong material for a part that
needed 100% free of iron. It was easy to check up by a magnet, but
somehow we assumed that we used the right material. So we are still
learning from our mistakes, but instead of looking backwards we decided
to move on in order to accomplish our goal.
During the 5th
anniversary of FBT we organized a
business developing conference in Danang. More than 200 people showed
up. It was a time to connect, share experiences, and learn new things.
Consultant Mario Brühlmann from Switzerland gave us some new ideas and
many stories were shared by locals. They shared their successes but
also their failures. The next day a workshop was organized to equip
twenty mentors and trainers. We received positive feedback from people
who attended the conference or workshop. We are so glad for the impact
of this course around the whole country. Here are some
More than 200
Mario and Mr.
Success with peanut oil
Running a new
restaurant Success in mentoring mentors
Lunch at the hotel
Eating and networking
Mouth advertisement is a
One leader in the Mekong
Delta, recommended our course to others and 70
people showed up. We did not expect this and we ran out of manuals.
Another leader was very hesitant, but finally allowed us to teach
around 10 people in his area. At the end of the day participants became
so excited that the following day 25 people showed up. The leader
noticed the excitement and apologized for holding back. We hope through
our course we can create trust in what we are doing. Last month we were
invited to a business conference in Danang and we could help some
people by giving them simple but important solutions.
Two former workers (foto:
2009) came to visit us. Nui moved to Dubai
when he left Solar Serve. Now he is back and wants to set up his own
company. Loc, the other worker got married and is trying to find his
future in collecting honey from the forest. There are many people doing
this, so his question was how he could do better. Another former worker
came into trouble and when we visited him he was on the edge of giving
up physically. It was sad because a number of years ago he was a bright
man with a good future. We should not forget these workers who have
been serving us in the past.
We are not going around
for support, but there are some individuals in
other countries who have dedicated their lives in helping us. Their
goal is to make our work known to others. They show our
equipment and also attend many flea markets in order to sell
second-hand goods. We are very surprised that after a whole day of hard
working in the rain or cold weather their profit is less than a
spontaneous given donation. We have deep respect for those individuals
who are willing to sacrifice their time, even when the result is less
than the effort.
That was all for now.
Keep in touch with us and again thank you for
standing with us.
Solar Serve team
Called to Serve