"What are the most critical problems that your family and your community are facing?" That's the question we asked numerous families throughout Nicaragua. Thanks to their answers and the extensive experience of our local partner organization, Alcance Nicaragua, we now have a clear picture of the most pressing issues that are affecting Nicaraguan children and their families.
One of the most urgent and damaging problems is thick, perpetual smoke. For lack of a better alternative, most Nicaraguan families cook their meals on an open fire, right inside their living space. This especially affects children and their mothers, who breathe in smoke all day long. To put that into perspective: it's the equivalent of smoking three packs of cigarettes every single day!
As a result, these children suffer from life-threatening illnesses such a lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Worldwide, 2.6 million people die from household air pollution each year. Furthermore, it is very easy for children to burn themselves on the open fires.
We were shocked both by the extent of this terrible problem and by how easy it is to fix. The solution is to build clean stoves
, which channel the smoke outside through a chimney and present a safer, more efficient way to cook meals that requires far less wood. This saves poor families money and protects Nicaragua's precious rain forests.
We witnessed a lot of suffering and poverty in Nicaragua but we also got to know lots of wonderful people who take their fate into their own hands and do their best to solve the many problems they're facing. Together with our Nicaraguan partner organization, we assist families in six development communities with the construction of their clean ovens.
These families help build their own ovens and provide raw materials (like soil and ash) that are available on site. They also make a small financial contribution, which is deposited onto a shared community account. This provides sustainability and empowers families to take matters into their own hands. Still, to improve the lives of their children today, these families need our support. The materials required to build a clean stove only cost 65 Euros.
Take a few deeps breaths...... Enjoy how it feels.
Clean air is a beautiful gift and a basic human right. No child should have to go without it. Please donate now.