By John DeFore
Sometimes using solar power is about more than just conserving precious resources. Sometimes it’s a means of self-defense.
In camps housing refugees from the Darfur genocide, women and girls routinely must place themselves in harm’s way when gathering firewood to cook meals; they are often raped or beaten on these treks away from camp by bandits and militiamen. As one woman in this short film puts it, “I know it’s dangerous to send my little sister, but sometimes we have no choice.”
Jewish World Watch, an organization of California synagogues whose members see Darfur atrocities as an echo of the Holocaust, has responded to this problem with a beatifully simple solution: a solar cooker.
A kit consisting of nothing more than cardboard covered with reflective foil, a black pot, and a plastic bag, the solar cooker enables users to prepare starchy staples in 2-4 hours without needing firewood. Moreover, the process produces no smoke; according to one user, “the food even tastes better.” Refugees have been put to work in the project, earning incomes by repairing the kits and training others to use them.
JWW has already provided kits to over 5,000 families in Chad’s Iridimi camp, where over 17,000 women and children live, but they’ve expanded to the larger Touloum camp (with ambitions beyond that) and would welcome financial help. An online donation form allows anyone to contribute; $30 buys two cooker kits and a year’s supply of bags for a family in the camps, and an optional form allows donors to designate gifts in honor of friends or family (who, again optionally, can be sent a card informing them).
Copyright © 2008 | Distributed by Noofangle Media