Made in Vietnam

Protec, a non-profit helmet company

Protec is known as a social enterprise established by the AIP Foundation which specializes in producing ethically made helmets. 

Protec is known as a social enterprise established by the AIP Foundation which specializes in producing ethically made helmets. The enterprise not only has provided the market with high-quality "tropical" helmets suitable for the Vietnamese climate and people, but also contributed significantly to enhancing community awareness and responsibility when in traffic in Vietnam.

Protec was created by an American businessman, Greig Craft who saw a country on the cusp of enormous change - and a place where, as the standard of living and use of motorized vehicles increased, young people were dying and suffering severe injuries on the roads every day.

Greig Craft first arrived in Vietnam in 1989 with the aim of strengthening the trade connections between Vietnam and the US. He connected many American businesses to operate in Vietnam in the early stages, notably Ford and Motorola.


During his stay in Vietnam, he was taken by surprise with the growth of the number of motorbikes in Vietnam. This was inevitably followed by an equally rapid surge in fatalities and concussion cases attributed to traffic accidents. He wondered why people did not wear helmets when helmets were a uniquely affordable and effective ‘vaccine’ against head injuries on the road.

With what he saw, Greig Craft established the AIP Foundation in 1999 to address this terrible crisis on Vietnam’s roads. Firstly, the foundation implemented helmet projects focusing on children. According to Craft, when children change their awareness to being educated about traffic safety, they will be the ones who powerfully spread the message to everyone. At that time, during his visit to Vietnam, former US president, Bill Clinton, helped Craft launch the program.


The helmet production line of Protec's factory located at Ba Thien II industrial park,
Thien Ke commune, Binh Xuyen district, Vinh Phuc province. Photo: Protec’s files



Protec's factory capacity is up to 8,000,000 helmets per year. Photo: Protec’s files


Almost all Protec helmet products are made of ABS plastic with a high impact resistance. Photo: Protec’s files


The company has measured thousands of the heads of Vietnamese people to create designs that vary in style,
but still are convenient, nice-fitting and user friendly. Photo: Protec’s files



Protec is an enterprise with a number of disabled workers that accounts for 20-30% of the 120 workers in the company.


The company has contributed significantly to enhancing community awareness and responsibility when in traffic in Vietnam.

Protec has experts from the US who work together to design and research helmet product lines. Photo: Protec’s files
 

In the beginning, the helmets used in the project were imported from a factory in Hong Kong, but that was not convenient in the long run. In 2000 when the US and Vietnam officially normalized their relationship, Craft built a Protec plant - the first non-profit helmet production factory in the world. The factory officially was put into operation in 2001.

According to Hoang Thi Na Huong, general director of Protec, the company's helmet performs two main tasks, promoting the AIP Foundation's traffic safety activities and providing Vietnamese road users with affordable and climate appropriate helmets.

The first product of Protec was the tropical helmet. The company measured five thousand heads of Vietnamese to create designs that varied in style, but were still convenient, nice-fitting and user friendly. Protec helmets have been improved in form and design to meet the demand of the market.

Every 5 years, experts from Protec and the AIP Foundation coordinate with the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality to build and update changes of helmet standards.

Protec not only produces good quality helmets, but also persistently implements community projects, raising consumer’s awareness. One of their outstanding projects is a “helmet for kids” program. In some areas in the northern mountain provinces such as Thai Nguyen and Yen Bai, the results of the project were before the intervention 13-16% children wore helmets. After the intervention the rate increased to over 80%.




One of community projects of Protec. 
 

The “helmet for kids” program has  some areas in the northern mountain provinces 
 

Protec has implemented its retail system, targeting customers who really care about
the safety of themselves and their children. 









Protec's helmets. 


Na Huong said that Protec has implemented its retail system, targeting customers who really care about the safety of themselves and their children. Customers decided to buy their products after reading messages and learning social values from Protec.

In 2019, Protec converted the factory to try exporting helmets to the European market. Protec has researched and produced diverse products, including helmets for bicycling, skiing, climbing and motorbike driving following European standards.

“The company's desire is to export to the world a line of helmets made in Vietnam, proudly made by Vietnamese workers”, general director Na Huong said.

.

 

Story: Thao Vy Photos: Protec’ s files Translated by Nguyen Tuoi

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