16 Solar Cookers for 92 Tibetans (16 Tibetan Households)

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Ms. Lillian Lee contributed 2,520 RMB that, combined with a local contribution of 480 RMB, provided a total of 3,000 RMB. These funds were used to purchase sixteen solar cookers for sixteen impoverished households (92 Tibetans) in Gure (Gulei) Village, Dobei (Daowei) Township, Xunhua Salar Autonomous County, Qinghai Province, PR China. The total expenditure per person was 31.25RMB / 4.46USD per recipient). The solar cooker project: ---Provides better opportunities for the village women to engage, with village men, in such other economic activities as collecting medicinal herbs and other wild plants to generate household income; ---Reduces the time women spend collecting fuel and working in smoky kitchens. Prior to the cooker project, families with solar cookers made ten trips (one trip = a nine hour walk to mountains and back home) to collect firewood in the mountains. However, families without solar cookers needed to make around twenty-five such trips to collect firewood. Likewise, families with solar cookers spend less than three hours a day in a smoky kitchen to cook in contrast to families without solar cookers who spent more than five hours per day in a smoky kitchen. Furthermore, the bundles of wood women carry are heavy, which negatively impacts women's health. The, at-times, narrow and steep paths, are also dangerous. The solar cookers reduced exposure to such hardship and danger; ---Allows elders to easily cook meals when other family members are not at home or otherwise unable to prepare food for them; ---Increases disposable income because most households spend about 500RMB annually. Previous solar cooker projects in the area suggest a family saves about 300RMB a year by decreased coal expenses; ---Increases the number of girls in school because the need for fuel gathering is reduced; and ---Solar cookers are environmentally friendly--villagers cut trees and dig bushes in the mountains, contributing to denuding the local landscape and soil erosion. The cookers reduce this negative impact. Rural households in Qinghai Provinces generally use inefficient, polluting energy sources―animal dung, straw, wood, sod, and coal. The implications of such on the health and safety of family members, particularly very young children and women and girls, is so serious that indoor air pollution is now rated by the World Health Organization as the second most dangerous environmental health risk in rural areas (after dirty water and poor sanitation). These solar cookers have lessened this health risk for 92 Tibetans, and, in addition, have reduced the collection of organic materials, benefitting the local environment.
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