For our Educare Families that are below the poverty line, using a gas stove is quite a luxury. The gas stove and cylinders are quite expensive. Then there are the (natural and unnatural) shortages which hits these families harder. Some of them use them, but many are still using traditional mud stoves that use a lot of fire wood and emit carbon mono oxide which is health hazardous.
Besides they face several difficulties with fire wood. This is all but fraught with dangers; they gamble with the risk of rape and life threatening attacks during their search for much needed firewood, in order to feed their families. In certain areas, local sources of firewood are completely depleted, leading women to travel further and further afield or to dig up tree roots, eliminating any chance of the trees growing again. Even if women survive this, they are still exposing themselves and their children to potentially deadly smoke fumes.
We are tackling this issue by providing more fuel-efficient stoves, namely Improved Cooking stoves that are made up of metal. This helps in usage of less fire wood, subsequently, burning smaller amounts wood fuel means less smoke will engulf their homes and their lungs.
We have had installed 8 such stoves till date this year. The latest one was installed in the home of Shanti in Furse khola. They had a small kitchen outside their home and the wall had been blackened by the smoke. The house could be seen through smokes but what you do not see is the lungs that have been affected!