15/09/2020

MAN ON A MISSION TO STOP COVID-19

Greig Craft, an American social entrepreneur based in Vietnam, always had an eye for opportunities to make a positive impact and would pursue them relentlessly once he spotted them. In the expansion of his social enterprise, Protec, a helmet manufacturer and helmet safety testing site, he saw a unique chance to help meet the demand for personal protective equipment as the world struggled to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the support of AIP Foundation and FIA Foundation, Craft reimagined Protec’s state of the art helmet manufacturing facility as one that could also produce basic protective facemasks for distribution in countries significantly impacted by the pandemic, including the U.S. and in Europe, along with helmets.

Protec-Factory

Protec Factory No 2, Vietnam – January 2020

 

“The fact is that face masks have become a necessity around the world. People remain quite polarized when seeing others wearing masks, but they must recognize that this small decision is helping to save the lives of families and communities. With the repurposing of our newest facility to contribute to this collective effort, we hope to emphasize to the world that if a relatively small investment can save millions of lives, it’s a small price to pay. You don’t have to be Bill Gates to make a difference,” Craft stated.

With production launched in July, the installation of specialized production lines has enabled Craft and his team to deliver 3-5 million masks per month to frontline workers and communities with inadequate resources.

This isn’t the first time Craft was motivated to provide support during a global crisis. Fifteen years ago, in the aftermath of the catastrophic 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, he organized and personally delivered relief supplies for communities and refugee camps in Thailand. He initially volunteered for search and rescue efforts, which rapidly changed to body recovery. He worked in an outdoor morgue photographing the dead to assist families in identifying their loved ones. “Heartbreaking and gruesome is all I can say. COVID-19 reminds me of the tsunami: an ongoing nightmare of death, hopelessness, and despair, and a feeling of ‘life interrupted.’ At least now there is a way to mitigate the disaster with face masks.”

 

Greig Craft in Thailand in 2004

 

Twenty years ago, when traffic deaths and serious injuries were skyrocketing in Vietnam and other developing countries, many from head injuries after motorcycle crashes, Craft founded AIP Foundation, a nonprofit organization delivering effective road safety interventions centered on research, education, infrastructure, advocacy, and communication.  What started in Vietnam as Helmet for Kids, AIP Foundation’s first school-based program launched in collaboration with former President Bill Clinton, has since expanded to comprehensive programs, each designed to address the unique communities, around the globe.

 

Twenty years ago, when traffic deaths and serious injuries were skyrocketing in Vietnam and other developing countries, many from head injuries after motorcycle crashes, Craft founded AIP Foundation, a nonprofit organization delivering effective road safety interventions centered on research, education, infrastructure, advocacy, and communication.  What started in Vietnam as Helmet for Kids, AIP Foundation’s first school-based program launched in collaboration with former President Bill Clinton, has since expanded to comprehensive programs, each designed to address the unique communities, around the globe.

 

 

Not long after AIP Foundation was founded, Protec was developed to provide access to affordable, climate appropriate quality helmets. Craft envisioned Protec as a social enterprise that focuses on funneling its funds back into the community through programs and initiatives implemented by AIP Foundation and by creating vocational training and stable jobs at Protec for people with disabilities.

“While there are government subsidies and organizations to support people with disabilities, these individuals continue to face various challenges affecting their livelihood. The goal is to provide individuals with disabilities with real job experiences by creating employment opportunities in integrated and inclusive work settings, ” he says.

Fast forward to 2020 where COVID-19 has grown out of control in many unprepared countries, Craft looks to address the disparity and deliver support to the communities who need it most. “Masks are already being sent to Italy and other countries in dire need are also being assessed for distribution efforts. Sadly, smaller and, oftentimes, poorer hospitals and communities are being overlooked. We will help to solve this inequity. We need to get protective equipment into the hands of communities that need it most, in the U.S., South America, Europe, and Africa.”

Obtaining certification for the production of personal protective equipment has been time-consuming and complicated. “Standards are essential for a product like this, but the huge quantities required worldwide have been so great that some producers are taking shortcuts in quality. We don’t,” he emphasized.

AIP Foundation and Protec have now obtained FDA registration, CE certification, ISO 13485 and TCVN 8389-1:2010. They utilize ‘clean rooms’ in the factory that exceed most international hygiene standards. Prices are offered at a stable and affordable rate, due to the enterprise’s mission to ensure safety remains accessible. They are eager to make contact with hospitals and relevant authorities to offer affordable and high quality masks.

 

Video: Protec’s Mask

 

About AIP Foundation
AIP Foundation has a demonstrated history of successfully implementing its road safety initiatives, including school-based education programs. AIP Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing road injuries and fatalities in low and middle-income countries. For more than 20 years, AIP Foundation has been delivering effective road safety programs in locations across Asia and Africa. To find out more, visit: https://www.aip-foundation.org or connect with us on Twitter @AIP Foundation.

About Protec
Protec is a social enterprise established by AIP Foundation producing ethically made helmets. Protec has a helmet factory in Hanoi and an extensive distribution network all across the country, plus in Cambodia. A large number of its workers are physically disabled, with production lines modified to accommodate wheelchairs. Net operating income of the factory and sales profits are channeled to campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the community and educational projects of traffic safety through the operations of AIP Foundation in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. To learn more about Protec, visit: https://protec.com.vn/

 

 

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