For many people who lack access to electricity, the day ends when the sun goes down. But Philips aims to slowly change that through their Gift of Light program. Through it, employees first nominate communities around the world that are desperately in need of light and vote for the most deserving. Once these communities have been identified, employees then install energy-efficient solar-powered lights for both homes and roads. Thanh Son village in Vietnam is among the first communities to receive Philips’ life-changing technology, and further projects will be implemented across 17 countries in the coming months.
The village of Thanh Son is located in a remote rural area about 70 kilometers from Hanoi. For 30 years, village life in the largely off-grid community ended after sunset. But now a team of Philips employees have installed energy efficient LED solar powered lighting in 180 off-grid households and presented emergency LED battens and compact fluorescent lighting to a further 108 households where the electricity supply is intermittent. In addition, the company provided solar-powered road lighting for a play area at the village community center.
According to Nguyen Quang Tien, the chief of Thanh Son, the village has limited electricity and linking it to the main power grid would be a major task. Nationally, approximately four percent of Vietnamese households are still without electricity. But Vietnam has excellent prospects for harnessing solar power, receiving an average of 5kWh per square meter a day. In total 928 lights have been installed in households, a community center, and a kindergarten in Thanh Son, improving safety and security.
Le Viet Hung, Marketing Manager of Philips Lighting Vietnam, who nominated the project and worked with a team of nine employees to install the lighting said, “The candles and kerosene lamps have been put away and the smiles on people’s faces say it all. Children can play safely and study in the evening and village life has blossomed, no longer constrained by the setting sun. Our technology not only improved their lives but ours, showing that our lighting innovations really do matter. It makes me feel good inside.” The company received over 200 project nominations from its employees, and thousands of staff members voted as part of the employee engagement program.
Photos by Philips