Molly Grove via Crowdrise
March 10, 2014
BENEFITING: HOME OF HOPE INDIA-US
The following is my story and how I came about making a difference in the world one lung at a time and how your time and donation and change the lives of thousands of girls for years to come.
In April of 2013 I quit my job as a college recruiter in Denver, Colorado. I sold or packed up all my belongings and moved to India. Why India you may ask. Well a close friend of mine, Lucy, had previously volunteered for three months at an all girls orphanage in Joseph Nagar, India. She was deeply moved by the people she met there and the experiences and knowledge she gained. Lucy told me that it was one of the best experiences of her life and would not trade it for anything in the world. She knew I wanted to travel the world, experience different cultures, and help people along the way so she connected me with <a href="http://www.homeofhopeindia.org/">Homes of Hope</a>, the organization that facilitated Lucy's volunteering. Homes of Hope is a non-profit organization that not only places volunteers in Salesian Sisters' orphanages across Southern India but also is a main partner in their funding, growth, and development. I sent in my application in January and found out that I would be arriving in India on April 11th.
When I first arrived at the 90 children orphanage in Jospeh Nagar I saw a multitude of things that I never would have expected. Some of them I was prepared for others caught me so off guard that I was moved to tears and then action. One of those that moved me so much I knew, deep in my heart and soul, I had to do something about was the cooking facilities.
At the orphanage, much like in all of lower class India, the cooking of food is done in a small room with little to no ventilation. In that small room children, age 9-17, prepare food for 80+ people three times a day. During the day they spend massive amounts of time gathering coconut husks, dried palm leaves, and cow dung to use as fuel for that day's meals. This biofuel, as it is commonly called, is a great resource to them. It is already readily available on the property and is of no monetary cost to them. Little do they realize that burning this biofuel three times a day on their archaic stoves is costing them their lives.
In the first few weeks I was at Joseph Nagar I wanted to be a part of everything, and that included cooking. I would smell something amazing and enter the room with the stove and food only to be hurriedly ushered out by children with red eyes and tears running down their cheeks. They would push me out and yell, "Auntie, Auntie leave! Not nice! Paining! (pointing toward their eyes, mouth, throat, and lungs)" These children were and still are completing the loving act of cooking meals for others while sacrificing their own health and safety. They know it burns their eyes and makes them water. They know it hurts their chests and causes them to cough profusely. Yet they still do it day after day. They have no other option.
The average woman or child, cooking three meals a day on these inefficient stoves, is exposed to the smoke equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. Cookstove smoke kills 1 person every 16 seconds - almost half the world's population still cooks food, boils water, and warms their homes by burning wood, animal and agricultural waste, and coal in open fires or rudimentary cookstoves. Daily exposure to the harmful smoke from traditional cooking practices is one of the world's biggest - but least known - killers. In fact, smoke from traditional cookstoves and open fires causes 4 million premature deaths annually with women and young children the most affected. - All research was completed by <a href="http://www.cleancookstoves.org/">The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves</a>.
I saw this and knew something had to be done.
I started researching a solution to the orphanage's stove issue and came across a few option but I didn't know how to proceed. Luckily I have a boyfriend whose mother, Susan, and step-father, Roberto, are extremely active and knowledgeable about energy conservation and sustainable and renewable alternative options. I turned to them for help and they directed me to a company called <a href="http://www.envirofit.org/">Envirofit</a>. Envirofit International is a social enterprise that was established in 2003 to develop well-engineered technology solutions to improve the human condition on a global scale, with a primary emphasis on applications in the developing world. Envirofit has partnered with <a href="http://www.csuventures.org/article.php?id=6">CSU</a> and The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to create clean technology cookstoves that use 80% less fuel, cut down on cooking time by 50%, and most importantly create 90% less smoke and soot output. Once I saw the facts, looked at the success rate of the company, and read customer reviews I knew I had to set up a meeting with Envirofit and get these stoves for the girls.
I had the pleasure of meeting with the Managing Director of India, Harish, while I was in India. He kindly took Tanner and me on a personal tour of the Envirofit production facility in Aurangabad, Mahrajstra. At that location Envirofit produces the company's single-family household stove, the<a href="http://www.envirofit.org/products/?sub=cookstoves&pid=4"> G-3300 Wood </a>stove and then showed us the first industrial sized clean cookstove the <a href="http://www.envirofit.org/products/?sub=cookstoves&pid=11">EFI-100L</a>. This is the model needed for the orphanages due to the number of mouths they feed everyday, the girls cook for anywhere from 30 to 95 people three times a day. After talking technology and specs I concluded that this company and more specifically this model was perfect for what the girls needed. We discussed the production (all produced in India or China), distribution (Envirofit would handle all the shipping from door to door), installation (is included in cost and they will also demolish the old stove so the locations do not go back to their old method), and cost of these stoves to all of the <a href="http://www.homeofhopeindia.org/locations/">Home of Hope orphanages in India.</a>
I am asking each of you to take a moment, go through the links, do some further research, ask me as many questions as you like, and help finance the purchasing, distribution, and installation of approximately twenty stoves to the orphan girls. Each EFI-100L will cost $900 USD. This means I need your help to raise about $20,000 to be able to save these children from a lifetime of smoke inhalation leading to unnecessary premature health issues.
So please send this to anyone you can think of who would like to help. Spread the word to your friends, family, church, school, and to all reaches of your social circles. Every little bit helps whether you can donate $10 or $1000 it is all a step in the right direction.
We are thankfully already halfway there $10,775, due to the love, faith, and support of <a href="http://www.pikesideumc.org/">Pikeside United Methodist Church</a> in West Virginia, USA, the Chester and Betty Louise Perkins Trust, and the kind support of close family. We have negotiated the original price down from $1200 per stove to $900 and that includes a five year warranty and maintenance. We need a 50% down payment to Envirofit to confirm orders and get the stoves on the ground. I am hoping to be able to give the girls clean lungs and a better cooking environment by the new year. I know that with everyone's love, support, and financial help that this is a realistic goal.
100% of each donation goes directly to the purchasing of the stoves. If we surpass our goal of $20,000 each additional amount will be donated to Homes of Hope which supports and contributes to each of the Salesian Sisters' orphanages in India. The excess money will go toward helping build new schools at the locations, assist in technology and school content upgrades, and rain water tank building (just to name some of the Homes of Hope projects). With each donation you will get a personalized letter from one of the girls, a picture of all the children and the stove, and the personal satisfaction of knowing that you have forever impacted a whole community for generations and generations.
Thank you for all your interest, love, support, and faith. I know that together we can make a lasting change in the world.