Last edited: 15 January 2021
Green Impact (formerly Vietnam Solar Serve) is an organization of volunteers and disadvantaged laborers that promotes solar cooking in Vietnam. They support charitable projects and also runs a social green enterprise. The aim of both is to benefit all people, poor and rich, with alternative energy and helping them to use it properly. It will also provide jobs for local and disadvantaged people in building the devices at their Solar Serve center.
Vietnam Solar Serve started in 2000 and has so far provided more than 1750 box and parabolic cookers (updated 2012).
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 receives 1400-2000 hours of sunshine per year in the north and 2000-3000 hours per year in the central and southern parts, but not many people take advantage of solar energy for daily cooking. Only one basic solar cooker is needed to save lives, money, time and even the environment
Since 2000, simple solar cookers for cooking food have been introduced by Solar Serve in Vietnam. 1500 families (updated 2008) have been provided and almost 79% are using these solar cookers frequently. People have been able to save money, time and even improve their health.
The use of solar cookers requires changes in cooking habits, food, and food preparations. Therefore a solar cooking training program was set up by Solar Serve. 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. Therefore Solar Serve hopes to benefit more people in cooking with free solar energy in the coming years.
More than 20 years in Vietnam [click for video] More than 20 years Solar Serve – Green Impact. We have made a special video for you. We are thankful for each year and like to share this with you. So, enjoy our video, which will be in English, Vietnamese, and Dutch on our YouTube channel. In the coming years, we will continue our work in helping those in need. If you like to invest in those people, we are always open to assist you.
News[edit | edit source]
- NEW: Jan 2021: [Green Impact News No.65] How are you? For many of you, 2020 was a difficult year. We experienced problems too, but we learned to change. This was very clear with our old front sliding door (watch video). The plastic connections inside the door were destroyed due to hot weather conditions. Finally, we decided to design a new door and appointed our workers to build it. They did very well and in good harmony. Day by day they worked hard and finally they were ready to place it in the door opening. This door is now a reminder of being open for a change. New things will happen in 2021. Let's be open to it and have a blessed new year!
- Oct 2020: [Green Impact News No.64] Here is the new edition of our newsletter. We hope that our lines, phrases, and ideas will be understood. Sometimes we use translations from other languages. Lately, we translated our anniversary video into Korean, with the help of google and a Korean friend: Solar Serve - Green Impact 의 20년을 돌아보다 Although Korean people have shown their appreciation in the past, the video did not become a blockbuster and needs some encouragements. Maybe it has to do with our cultural differences we always have to deal with. So let's learn from each other and we welcome you to our Green Impact world!
- Picking Green Pears for Green Support [Click here for video] One of our goals is, to give people, companies, organizations, schools, and churches an opportunity to help disadvantaged peoples in Vietnam. We just received two short videos of one Dutch volunteer, who is picking pears for three weeks in order to help these people. Hard work, but her reward is great after seeing lives being changed in Vietnam. What an inspiration! (Note: We put the two videos together)
- July 2020: [Green Impact News No.63] The last few months it has been a real challenge to live in Vietnam, but probably not as much as in your country. The amazing thing is that no one died of the coronavirus in Vietnam, although several hundred people were infected. For a while, people had to wear face masks, but now it is only required on certain important points. Schools in Danang have started already and shops and restaurants are doing their businesses again. The beaches are open to the public, so we are ready for the Summer.
- April 2020: [Green Impact News No.62] How are you doing? Our center is still open but in Danang schools and universities are closed and students are required to follow online classes. Restaurants, hotels, resorts are more and more closed. Also, flights are restricted and traveling is banned, which is a set back for the tourist industry. Big gatherings are not possible anymore and sports events are canceled. There was a great panic when a Vietnamese woman returned from a visit to her sister in Italy. In doing so, she contracted the coronavirus. She also visited London and came to Danang with two English tourists. They also got infected. Now at six points in the city traffic police are checking people. Although people are walking around with mouth masks, they are still doing their thing as good as possible, staying calm and trying to cope with the restrictions.
- January 2020: [Green Impact News No.61] More than two months ago our new name Green Impact was officially approved by the government. The old name gave the impression that everything we did had to do with solar energy. Now we are also making products that will use biomass as energy. Eventually, the name Green Impact emerged, which stands for green products that have an impact in our daily life. We designed a logo with a red (impact) arrow pointing into a green letter G (green products). We also had to change our social enterprise into a regular enterprise (co.,ltd) because of inconvenient regulations. In the coming months, we are changing things slowly but you can still use the old way for mail and financial transactions. A new website is under construction now.
- October 2019: [Solar Serve News No.60] Around 25 American students from different universities came to visit us. They were all studying environmental subjects and wanted to know what we were doing. It was a nice group of young people. We showed them our parabolic cooker on arrival. It was already late in the afternoon but there was still enough sun to boil water. After showing a short video, we answered several questions and told them that protecting the environment was not just the responsibility of the government, but it must work through all spheres of social life. Later they visited our factory and were very interested in what we did. Although it was sometimes very simple, it turned out to be something very new for the students.
- July 2019: [Solar Serve News No.59] 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 of 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!
- April 2019: [Solar Serve News No.58] If you have visited our Solar Serve center recently, maybe ‘full house’ came to your mind. It is not that we are fully occupied with staff or workers, but our place is filled with thousands of cooking stoves. We are recently not able to send new containers full of cooking stoves to the north. The agency that is responsible to distribute them to the poor has been stopped by the authorities. The reason is unclear but we are hopeful that it will be resolved soon. We are still making new stoves, although our place is now packed (full house) waiting to be sent to the north. Please stand with us that bureaucracy will not hinder us from helping the poor in the north.
- Januari 2019: [Solar Serve News No.57] First of all, greetings from Danang. We wish you a wonderful year where impossible things will be possible. We as Solar Serve have seen a breakthrough in the last few months, and we’d love to see that happen with you too. We encourage you to use your ability to create new things and don’t give up if it is not working yet. Many years ago we started with making our solar box cookers and later on the parabolic cookers. It has been a process of learning and taking right decisions, but also being able to give up when something was not working well. It brought us to where we are now. Let us give you the latest update and see for yourself the change we went through.
- October 2018: [Solar Serve News No.56] Our staff needs to be in good shape. Physical exercises will help them to keep going. Now they are playing football after work in front of our center and some of them are going to a gym. We and other neighbors have been asking for years if a large piece of wasteland opposite our center could be used for physical entertainment. Finally to everyone’s surprise many wild trees were cut off last month and trucks loaded with sand showed up and it was announced that in three months’ time there will be a park for everyone. This will affect our neighborhood and also the physical conditions of our staff. They need that for the coming months if you read more about our next challenges.
- Sept 2018: We just posted a new youtube video in how to benefit your community. It shows you how we do it in Danang since 1997: 1. Charity: We are helping people during natural disasters and other needs. 2. Social Enterprise: We manufacture different types of green products made by local workers and disadvantaged people. 3. Training: We train local people to start their own family business in order to come out of poverty. Now they can support their families, churches and communities with their own profits.
- July 2018: [Solar Serve News No.55] 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 clean stove.
- April 2018: [Solar Serve News No.54] We received a donation from Swiss Create, the business development branch of a Swiss Consulting Group. The purpose was to make 600 clean stoves and 50 solar lamps for the victims of typhoon Damrey and also for the victims of a severe flood. We already had 1000 stoves in our store, so we were able to help the first typhoon victims immediately in the province of Quang Ngai. It was just the beginning of helping many others in the provinces of Quang Nam, Binh Dinh and Lam Dong, and even in the Mekong Delta. For us it was so great when Swiss Create got involved so that we were able to help immediately. May this be an inspiration for you when hands and feet are coming together. Please contact us: email@example.com
- October 2017: [Solar Serve News No.53] We have built a small cottage in our research & display center. A windmill was placed in front and our waterwheel beside for supplying electricity. We filled the cottage with a few clean cookers, a solar lamp and a parabolic and box cooker in front. It became a great spot to show our work and to take pictures with our visitors.
- Aug 2017: Exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves In the coming year we as Solar Serve are planning to make around 9000 clean cookers and distribute them among the minorities and people in poor areas in Vietnam. The stoves are loved especially by the minorities but they do not see the need or have not the ability to buy them. They often do not want to change their (cooking) habits, even if it is damaging their health by indoor smoke. They still have a long way to go. So we are going to help them any way
- July 2017: [Solar Serve News No.52] In the third week of May our new building was finished. We had electricity, the toilets worked well and our workers did the final touch by making a fence in front of the building. We repaired all our products we had made the last 20 years and displayed them all over the building. A bamboo cottage will be built where visitors can see how everything is used. We hope to attract visitors who are interested what we are doing. We will also use the building for research and designing new products. So if you have time, come to visit us! It is easy to find when you travel from the airport to the Marble mountains or Hoi An.
- April 2017: [Solar Serve News No.51] During a social enterprise conference in Singapore one man from Myanmar became interested in our work and asked if he could send some workers to Danang so we could teach them how to make our products. Although one of his workers could not come, the man himself arrived with his family and two workers in April and we were able to teach them for one week. They are great people and eager to learn. First, there was a day of teaching the principles of all instruments and after that the practical aspects and making the instruments (parabol & clean cooker) with our workers. It worked out very well!
- January 2017: [Solar Serve News No.50] We made a suggestion to friends in Vietnam that our solar lamp "Light of the World” was available as a Christmas gift to bless families, friends or staff of their organization. We have done this with our own staff and they were very happy with it. The good thing about our lamp is that it is a solid product that can be used for years in comparison to the cheaper ones on the market. The lamps are still available for other occasions to bless people in areas where electricity can be a problem. Even mobile phones (etc.) can be recharged with it.
- November 2016:[Solar Serve News No.49] 10.11.2016 - Caritas Chính Toà và Solar Serve ở Đà Nẵng cứu trợ nạn nhân lũ lụt tại Quảng Bình - Hàng trăm chăn ấm, bếp sạch di động nhỏ, nước sạch và hỗ trợ tài chính. On 10.11.2016 Caritas Chinh Toa and Solar Serve in Danang helped flood victims in Quang Binh with hundreds of blankets, clean cooking stoves, clean water and financial support
- September 2016:How to use our new solar lamp This is our latest solar product. This time a handy solar light for fishermen, farmers, local people and minorities in the mountains, when they run out of electricity. Watch this clip and you will understand why we get excited in helping those people with our new solar lamp. They are made in our Solar Serve Center in Danang - Vietnam.
- August 2016:New YouTube video clips Please check up our latest YouTube video clips in English and Vietnamese.
- July 2016: [Solar Serve News No.48] “Give a man a fish, and he will be hungry again tomorrow; teach him to catch a fish, and he will be richer all his life.” Although the origin of this proverb is not clear, it helps us to explain what we are doing as Solar Serve. It is more than only making solar ovens or clean cookers, or any human effort to help others. For us it is important that people learn to fish well so that they can stand strong in life. What a joy if we are able to help people to learn fishing. Here are some stories:
- April 2016: [Solar Serve News No.47] A man from France came to visit us in Danang. He runs a restaurant in Vung Tau, a popular seaside resort in the south of Vietnam. He knew all about solar cookers and other environmentally friendly devices. He was very excited and wanted to buy several devices for his restaurant (three box cookers, two parabolas and three clean cookstoves). He also ordered two solar lamps. For us it was interesting that after several years someone requested our box cookers again. Because of the sunny weather in the south they could be an attraction for tourists eating in his restaurant.
- April 2016: A Portable Clean Cookstove Our latest video.*
- January 2016: [Solar Serve News No.46] The year 2016 is already several days old. Our wish for you is that everything will turn out for good. Don’t give up! Although the world is shaking, we have decided not to hold back. There are still many things to do. We learn from the ants that they refuse to take it easy. They are working hard and storing up against the coming time. We also do not want to just look a few feet in front of us by not preparing for the future. So, here are some goals for the coming year!
- October 2015: [Solar Serve News No.45] There are 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam. Most of the minorities live in the mountains and are hard to reach. We needed open areas for our solar cooker projects, but this was not always possible in places with lots of trees. But since we helped them also with our clean cookers, things changed. We already have been working with seven different minorities (see picture).
- July 2015: [Solar Serve News No.44] For 15 years we have been doing charity work and since 2006 we are also running a social enterprise. It was not always easy to work with products depending on the environment. It was sometimes very hard to change the mindset of people. We learned a lot. The turn came when we included the clean cookstoves in our work. It became a good alternative in combination with the parabolic cookers. It improved people’s health, finances but also the environment. This is one of the reasons why we kept on going after 15 years. And thanks to you, that we have never felt alone.
- June 2015: New clean stove This new clean cookstove is a great cooking alternative when there is no sunshine. Just watch the introduction on Youtube.
- April 2015: [Solar Serve News No.43] Here we are again. In Solar Serve we all have our responsibility and it is good that we can use our talents. Creativity is needed when we meet new challenges. The last few months we have been working together with several other agencies, organizations and social enterprises. It was good to work together. We also received some training and now we are able to pass it on to others. Here are some of the latest stories.
- Archieve News 2003 - 2020 [Old links]
Design and manufacturing[edit | edit source]
- Box cookers: In partnership with Dutch organization Solar Cooker Workgroup Sliedrecht NL, we have developed a new lightweight solar box cooker for use in Vietnam. The previous SLS solar box cooker was made from wood, which was increasingly difficult to purchase in Vietnam. The new cooker is made from aluminum sheets that are shaped using two molds, one for the inner box and one for the outer box. It weighs only 12 kg.
|Two molds are used for the inner and outer box of the new solar box cooker|
- Parabolic cookers: Besides making our present parabolic cooker, we have been asked to design a parabolic cooker easy for transport. We used the same mold of our present parabolic cooker (1.30m) and divided it into four parts. It took some time, but we came up with the cooker you see in the pictures below. We also made the stand foldable. The new four-part parabolic cooker is working well and weights only 23 kg. It fits in 100 x 80 x 20 cm carton boxes, which is good for transport. The deaf workers were very excited when we got some orders from Canada and Holland.
|Parabolic disc in four parts. A foldable stand. Weight: 23 kg. Fits in a 100 x 80 20 cm carton box|
- Box cookers and parabolic cookers are available upon request.
History[edit | edit source]
- History- Brief Solar Serve history in pictures
Photo gallery[edit | edit source]
Audio and video[edit | edit source]
Benefit your community [Benefit your community]
Green Impact YouTube Channel [YouTube Channel]
Solar Serve Center Tour [Solar Serve Center]
Interview with Mister Bich - 2006 [Audio interview with Nguyen Tan Bich discussing his work]
See also[edit | edit source]
Solar Serve - Green Impact publications[edit | edit source]
- Newsletters- Solar Serve / Green Impact Newsletters
[edit | edit source]
- Green Impact Website: Vietnamese and English version
- Bich's story: Unlikely partners develop solar cooker for the poor
- June 2007: 1,200 solar energy cookers for remote areas - Peoples Army Daily
- July 2006: An audio interview with Solar Serve director Nguyen Tan Bich discussing the work of his group
- November 2005: Unlikely partners develop solar cooker for the poor - VietNamNet Bridge
- May 2005: More locals in central Vietnam exposed to solar cookers - Thanh Nien Daily
- November 2004: Insight from Vietnam's Solar Serve organization
Contacts[edit | edit source]
Nguyen Tan Bich
Green Impact Co., LTD
Solar Serve Center
Lo 24-26 - Duong Dong Hai 6
Phuong Hoa Hai, Quan Ngu Hanh Son
Danang City, Vietnam
Tel: +84 236 - 3 967 108
Mobile: 0919 511 552