September 2011: Vietnam Solar Serve was introduced to a Social Entrepreneurs Support Program. Their aim was to identify and support social entrepreneurs at their early stages of development. Mr Bich, the director, felt to participate in this program along with 200 other entrepreneurs in Vietnam. There were three rounds. In each round participants dropped out and finally Bich had to stand in front of a panel. The result was made known on the first of September. Amazingly, mr Bich was at the top of the list and was chosen as the best social entrepreneur. It came along with 20,000 dollars worth as seed money to strengthen and to develop Solar Serve.
August 2011: Vietnam Solar Serve provided a restaurant in Hoi An with a parabolic solar cooker. Immediately it caught the attention of the neighbors and tourists. Near this restaurant on Cam Nam Island, They decided on World Environment day (June 5th) to help several families with new parabolic cookers. All of them were very happy, and now a small solar village with twenty cookers has been established. They hope this will really benefit more families.
July 2011: Vietnam Solar Serve has been recently contacted by a tourist agency in southern Vietnam. They are seriously thinking about establishing several solar villages. They asked Solar Serve if they could help them with solar cooking portion of the project. Several years ago VSS provided a small village near Marble Mountains with many solar cookers. It attracted many people and several reports were written in the newspapers. Due to government development plans however, this village has been recently removed.
July 2009: With assistance from donors and the help of many
volunteers, Solar Serve completed construction of its new center in Danang last summer. The center was dedicated in June 2008 at a ceremony attended by over 120 people that included a solar meal prepared by Solar Serve staff and volunteers. The new center will be used for solar cooker construction and storage, training, and research. In cooperation with the Danang University, Solar Serve is working to make the village of Hoa Quy a solar cooking model for the region around Danang and beyond. An initial distribution of several dozen solar box cookers and 20 parabolic cookers has occurred, and, according to Solar Serve, “The locals love it. They are using the solar cookers by themselves and do not need our help anymore. Articles in national and local newspapers appeared and there was also a short local TV report.” Solar Serve has also begun raising awareness in Quang Tri province, and has trained and provided solar cookers to over 40 families.
October 2008:There is nothing new under the Sun. When you watched the Olympic Games you could see that in the ancient times a parabolic shaped bowl was used to light the Olympic torch. We are using the same principles in catching the fire. First we did it with our basket cooker, but changed it into a wooden one and now we make the cooker from aluminum. Also our parabolic cooker made progress and now we are able to make it in four parts. At the moment we are building a new community cooker. Our staff made an amazing clock from bicycle parts and now an impressive framework stands in front of the center. Yes, there is nothing new under the Sun, but it feels great when you are able to create something (like) new.
August 2008: We received a telephone call from the University asking if we could help the people in Quang Tri, a province almost 300 km north of Danang. Our staff explored the area and they noticed that there were many trees in the countryside which could prevent people in using the solar cookers. But most of the families had an open area in front of their houses. During the dry season it is very hot in this province, so it is a good place for solar cooking. We decided to help more then 40 families with 30 box cookers and 10 parabolic cookers and next year we will help others near the border of Laos. We had to transport all the cookers by truck and after some education the families received their first cookers. They were very happy!
July 2008: This year we are still in the news after we started our project in Hoa Quy village near our center. We provided many box and parabolic cookers for the local people (see also May 2008). Our desire is to make this village a solar cooking model for the whole region and even Vietnam. A combination of box cookers and parabolic cookers seems to be very successful. Last Saturday a TV station showed a 25 min documentary about this village. Even reporters are checking it out by themselves and find out that the people love it and are using the cookers daily when there is sunshine. Last week we got a telephone call from an official of the Environment department from North Vietnam. He has been visiting this village by himself too and was very excited. The solar cookers could stand the test.
June 2008: On June 15th we decided to dedicate our new Solar Serve Center. We had a great time of celebration with at least 120 people together. We told the history of the building, showed a short power point presentation and thanked the people who have stood with us during this time. After that we had a wonderful meal prepared by our staff and other volunteers. Many people expressed their excitement and some of them believed that the building will soon be too small for all the work that will be in store.
May 2008: In cooperation with the Danang University we have established a village near our Solar Serve center to become the first solar cooking village in Vietnam. We provided at least 50 box cookers and 20 parabolic cookers in the last few weeks and hope to add more in order to establish a good model. The locals loved it. They are using the solar cookers by themsleves and do not need our help anymore. Articles in national and local newspaper appeared and there was also a short TV report on local TV.
April 2008: In our last newsletter we told you that we finished the foundation of the building. We felt that the factory was just a part of the building, so we renamed it Solar Serve Center. After the walls and pillars were built and the second floor was laid, things happened fast and if you see the pictures, maybe you will not believe your eyes. It’s wonderful and so exciting. We made an agreement with the contractor to finish the construction work within 6 months. That will bring us almost to the end of May.
March 2008: In early 2007 the non-profit Solar Serve (SLS) organization was prematurely evicted from its solar cooker factory in Tamky. Though unfortunate, the incident created an opportunity to move the factory to Da Nang, which is more suitable for transport, materials acquisition, marketing, and access to labor. A search for a suitable building was unfruitful, and the financially difficult decision was made to purchase land for a new factory. In August, SLS acquired a 420-square-meter tract of land big enough for a factory and additional space for research and storage. It is located behind the Marble Mountains area, along the beach and the new road to Hoi An. SLS worked with an architect to design the building, which will house the factory on the first floor, and a show room and training rooms on the second floor.
*Construction of the building began in November, and by the end of December the foundation had been laid and the exterior walls framed. Work continues on the interior walls and fixtures. SLS has a small budget, and didn’t have the funds necessary to purchase the land or pay construction costs. Though SLS doesn’t solicit donations directly, it received financial support from a variety of sources: “Friends and unknown people, individuals like a handicapped person, a former drug addict, an embassy worker, a single mother, an older couple who gave their anniversary gift, leaders from an organization, a church, support of a fair and secondhand sale, a sponsor walk, dozens of companies, poor, rich and also children.” SLS was overwhelmed with the generosity, and “felt like solar cookers bathing in beams of warmth and love. It was a miracle.”
October 2007:Solar Serve News #16 *July 2007: In partnership with Dutch organization Solar Cooker Workgroup Sliedrecht NL, Vietnam Solar Serve (SLS) has developed a new solar box cooker for use in Vietnam. The previous SLS solar box cooker is made from wood, which is increasing 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.
November 2006: This year, the[Vietnam Solar Serve organization has been introducing solar cookers to the Raglai minority south of Phan Rang. Many Raglai cut and sell firewood for a living, and were a little hesitant to try solar cooking. They warmed to the idea over time. Solar Serve organized workshops, trained a person to conduct follow-up house visits, and ultimately provided 100 solar box cookers and 30 concentrator-type solar cookers to the community. One kind Vietnamese donor provided funds for 20 of the solar cookers. To celebrate International Environment Day, 70 Raglai solar cooked a feast of fish, beef, vegetables, rice, and curry for dozens of people, including some local authorities. Contact: Nguyen Tan Bich
November 2005: The Vietnam Solar Serve organization reports overwhelming response to a nationally broadcast television documentary of their work promoting solar cookers around Da Nang, including many requests to bring solar cooking to southern areas of the country. As a result, Solar Serve conducted several workshops in Phan Rang, an area that is "like a desert. Hot, dry and sandy." Water contamination is rampant, according to Vietnam Solar Serve. "There is no clean water available but dirty river water has been pumped into an open drain system. Every day people are using this water for cooking, drinking and washing." High levels of illiteracy forced the Solar Serve staff to be creative in their workshops, in which participants ultimately assembled 100 solar box cookers and several parabolic cookers. A two-day celebration at the end of the workshops drew over 100 people, who feasted on solar-cooked fish, beef, curry, vegetables and rice.