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In April, National Geographic photographer, Lynn Johnson called StoveTeam’s founder Nancy Hughes, to say, “This time it’s real. We have a writer!” Nancy jumped on a plane for Guatemala and spent a week showing Lynn and Michelle Nijhuis the consequences of open fire cooking and the necessary and incredibly challenging work taking place to combat this growing threat.
As the article explains, open fires are responsible for myriad health problems including lung disease, pneumonia, burns and even death.
Open fires also cause deforestation and air pollution that is exacerbating climate change due to the emissions of black carbon.
Working alongside communities in Guatemala (as well as El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua), StoveTeam promotes locally produced alternatives to open fires that are safe, affordable and easy to use.
Our model relies on local partnerships with factory owners, social workers, and users to ensure the greatest impact and to overcome common barriers to the adoption of cookstoves.
You can read the article on newsstands in September or view the online version today.
Lynn and Michelle also had the opportunity to visit the National Police Archives in Guatemala City, where they delved into the human toll of the 35-year civil war in Guatemala. The atrocious war made international headlines and fueled social and cultural disparities still present in Guatemala today. You can read the article here.
Photo by: Lynn Johnson
Being a single mother is not easy for Maria Guadalupe.
Between childcare and maintaining a household, collecting firewood is a massive burden. On average, Maria Guadalupe spends 2-3 hours every few days scavenging the forest for wood. When the owners of the large plot of land surrounding the town decided to clear the forest for crops, they allowed for the families living nearby to collect wood one last time. The nearby trees are now nearly all gone and gathering wood will be more difficult than ever.
Maria's burden does not end there. The smoke from her makeshift stove bothers her. Furthermore, her toddler crawls towards the bright flames, unaware of the danger posed by the open fire.
Buying large amounts of wood is not a feasible option on her limited income. In the past, Maria held several jobs but working long hours made it impossible for her to care for her four children.
Despite the difficulty, Maria's positivity is unwavering. She is the type of person to count her blessings.
Thanks to a generous donor, Maria can get a leg up on her daily demands. A new fuel-efficient Ecocina cookstove will mean far fewer long trips to gather wood. Her children can also now play in the kitchen without risking burns and breathe clean air.
The burden of open-fire cooking negatively impacts families in many ways. Your donation of $50 of more can make life easier for another woman by providing a lifesaving cookstove. Donate today!
Photos by: Aliana Allen-Maloney
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