The future is bright: Delivering the Philips Gift of Light
It’s often said that ‘seeing is believing’. Well, having just returned from the remote Vietnamese village of Thanh Son, I’ve seen with my very own eyes the tremendous life-changing impact the Philips Gift of Light is having on this community. Improving the lives of 288 families by bringing them off-grid lighting solutions truly exemplifies our brand promise - Philips delivers innovation that matters to you. I must say, I felt a huge sense of pride at how we at Philips are enhancing life with light when I attended the switching-on of the new solar-powered LED lighting.
In July 2013, Philips Lighting employees in 17 geographies were invited to nominate worthy causes or projects that could benefit from a gift of Philips lighting innovations and services. We received more than 200 project nominations from employees around the world. Up to five shortlisted projects per geography were then voted upon by employees in their geography, resulting in 18 winners (there was a tie in Japan – they had two winning projects), which today are in various stages of implementation. The Philips Lighting Management Team then reviewed all the winning projects and chose an overall winner – Thanh Son Village.
The winning project – nominated by Le Viet Hung, Marketing Manager, Philips Lighting Vietnam – received a further round of funding to provide solar-powered LED lighting and emergency lighting for 288 households and a play area at the community center in the off-grid village.
It’s a sobering thought that close to 150 million people in the ASEAN region still live without access to electricity. Vietnam has worked hard on developing its national grid, yet today an estimated 4 per cent of all Vietnamese households are still without electricity. The village of Thanh Son is located in a remote rural area, about 70km (a two hour drive) from Hanoi. The villagers mainly earn a living by farming and growing cassava. For 30 years, village life in this largely off-grid community ended when the sun went down. But not anymore.
We have now installed energy-efficient solar-powered LED 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, we have provided solar-powered LED lighting for the village community center using Philips Solar GreenVision road lighting. I saw first-hand how the ability to harness the natural and abundant energy from the sun and convert it into sustainable LED lighting truly makes a huge difference, especially in allowing children to study at night.
As Le Viet Hung 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 has not only improved their lives but ours too, showing that our innovations really do matter. It makes me feel good inside.”
The Philips Gift of Light is not about us simply handing over a check and walking away. That’s why Le Viet Hung – having nominated the project – was part of the team of nine employees that actually installed the lighting. And we will offer the village of Thanh Son the same level of support that we provide to our commercial customers. We see this gift as the starting point for an ongoing relationship that provides a life-changing experience for all those involved. Delivering innovation that matters – what better way to make a difference to people’s lives?
President of Philips Lighting Growth Markets
Christoph Schell is the President of Philips Lighting Growth Markets and is responsible for driving the business across ASEAN Pacific, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and Central Asia, Middle East and Turkey, India, Pakistan and Africa. Christoph is also an Executive Vice President in Philips.
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