Panasonic conducted its Solar Lantern Donation program for the fourth time in Vietnam on August 9, presenting 330 solar lanterns to residents in Nam Tra My district in central Quang Nam province.
The program originated from Panasonic’s global “Light up the Future” initiative and is a long-awaited activity for many young Vietnamese from the “Live Green and Wellness with Gen G” campaign last year. Twenty young volunteers joined with Panasonic in its corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, aiming to contribute to the local community and realize Vietnam’s vision of wellness and sustainable development.
Though Panasonic has been conducting a variety of CSR activities, ranging from education to the environment, such as the Panasonic sustainable school program, the Panasonic scholarship program, and a tree-planting eco-relay program, among others, this is the first time the Japanese giant has organized a donation trip with the participation of young people nationwide.
The opening ceremony was held in Nam Tra My district in Quang Nam, while other “contributions to the local community” took place in the even more remote corners of Tra Cang and Tra Vinh communes, which enabled nearly 100 local residents to receive solar lanterns while 100 local students could enjoy fun and meaningful activities regarding the environment. In order to do so, Panasonic representatives and young volunteers had to cross over 170 km of mountainous roads from Da Nang to Nam Tra My, after flying in from different parts of the country, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Binh Dinh and Khanh Hoa provinces, and elsewhere.
According to Mr. Marukawa Yoichi, General Director of Panasonic Vietnam, Panasonic has long had a mission of contributing to society in all of its business activities. In Vietnam, it has made a strong commitment to further contribute to the wellness of the Vietnamese people and the country’s sustainable development over the next 50 years. “And one of our global initiatives - the ‘Light up the Future’ project - shares the same purpose: we want to contribute to improving the living standards of local people and help local children have better conditions for studying, especially at nighttime,” he said.
He added that Panasonic understands that Nam Tra My district in Quang Nam province is a special location facing challenges in development due to its geographical conditions, including mountainous terrain, while Tra Cang and Tra Vinh communes are among most disadvantaged, with rates of poor households exceeding 60 per cent and with a lack of access to electricity that presents problems for local people in daily life.
Therefore, with this program, Panasonic aims to not only support improving local living standards but also to follow the Vietnamese Government’s direction in eliminating poverty and contribute to realizing the Panasonic Green Impact commitment as well as Panasonic’s Wellness vision through renewable energy initiatives. “We believe that by participating in this meaningful program, young and enthusiastic Gen Green ambassadors can enjoy the chance to develop themselves and realize their aspirations to contribute to society,” Mr. Yoichi said.
Panasonic has already donated more than 100,000 solar lanterns to off-grid areas in 30 countries and territories in Asia and Africa, of which 2,832 were contributed to five provinces in Vietnam, including Dien Bien, Yen Bai, Thanh Hoa, Quang Ngai, and Quang Nam.
Mr. Tran Van Thuong, Chairman of the Tra Vinh Commune People’s Committee, said this activity by Panasonic means a great deal to a mountainous commune like Tra Cang, where people are still struggling without electricity. “The donated solar lanterns will help light up the living conditions of ethnic minorities while bringing more opportunities for children to study,” he said.
In implementing this program, Panasonic is accompanied by the Frogsleap Foundation, an NGO with rich experience in engaging young volunteers and delivering solar power projects to remote areas.
Participating in the ceremony, Ms. Ton Nu Thuc Quyen, who leads a project entitled Eco Station, said it aims to raise awareness about ecological protection in Son Tra Peninsula in central Da Nang city. “Panasonic’s activities for Gen G over the years have created a memorable journey, and the solar lantern donation program is an opportunity for us to directly contribute to remote communities and spread a message about environmental protection in the community,” she said.
The solar lantern donation project in 2023 is among the latest efforts by Panasonic Vietnam on its journey to realizing its 50-year Wellness vision and Panasonic Green Impact declaration. Earlier this year, the company completed a tree-planting program in north-central Thanh Hoa province with the participation of nearly 100 Panasonic’s employees, following a large-scale tree-planting project in 13 provinces in Vietnam with the active participation of customers and business partners, called “Live Wellness, Contribute Green”, adding to a record-high tree-planting effort of over 360,000 trees in less than one year.