When Greig Craft first arrived in Vietnam in 1989, he 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. Horrified by what he saw, he studied the situation intensively and realized that this was an opportunity to truly make a difference. In 1999, he established AIP Foundation to address this terrible crisis on Vietnam’s roads.
Greig initially chose to focus his efforts on widespread helmet use as a habit for drivers in Vietnam. He worked with a team of international specialists and designers to introduce the world’s first “tropical” helmet, a lightweight, low-cost motorcycle helmet appropriate to warm and wet climates like Vietnam. The tropical helmet was designed to provide maximum protection for riders without being too hot or heavy. The introduction of the tropical helmet was one of the first steps in what would become a cultural movement to stop the needless deaths on the roads in Vietnam.
In 2001, Greig established AIP Foundation’s social enterprise helmet factory, Protec, which soon made a name for itself as a producer of affordable, climate-appropriate helmets. Protec is a social enterprise employing the physically disabled in Vietnam, with an emphasis to provide a product for people at all levels of the economic pyramid. The tropical helmet was designed and produced to be affordable to Vietnamese people of all walks of life, changing helmets from a high cost product to an easily accessible one.
Since, Greig has continued to expand his focus to other road safety issues such as pedestrian safety, speeding, driving skills, safe school zones, and industrial worker education. This valuable work has not gone unrecognized. In 2011, twelve years after establishing AIP Foundation, Greig was awarded Vietnam’s Presidential Order of Friendship – the highest civilian honor given to foreigners. The award recognized his contributions to improving road safety through establishing AIP Foundation and Protec, his contributions to the universal helmet law, and his work in engaging international expertise and coordinating with the government to develop an appropriate standard for Vietnamese helmets. Transport Minister Ho Nghia Dung remarked on Greig’s “outstanding contributions to road safety initiatives in Vietnam,” noting how his “innovations in the development and design of a tropical motorcycle helmet have already saved many lives.”