Preparing food for her family every day, Julia has always used a dangerous method of cooking. Along with the other wives and mothers in her community in Nicaragua, she cooks over an open flame, subjecting herself, and sometimes even her children, to burns as well as long-term damaging effects, like respiratory and eye diseases.

Using this cooking method requires roughly 15 pieces of firewood, costing $1.25 each day. For these families living below the poverty line, $1.25 is nearly 40 percent of their daily income.

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Helping the community become aware of the health and financial concerns affiliated with this “traditional” stove, Outreach International facilitated community meetings to help them find a solution. Creating strong gender equity, Julia and the women of the village voiced their thoughts and concerns for the future of their children and their community.

As a result, Outreach trained six village members to build “eco” stoves, which use 60 percent less firewood and reduce the amount of smoke by 90-100 percent.

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“With the ‘eco’ stove, I use less than half the wood I did for our traditional stove. I no longer burn my hands, and there’s no smoke. Before, there was so much smoke that no one would come around while I was cooking. Now, we eat right next to the stove with no problem,” Julia said with excitement.

Thanks to support from our gracious donors, 349 people are benefiting from the newly-built “eco” stoves. Their lives have been changed forever. The new stoves reduce respiratory disease by 70 percent and eye problems by 60 percent.

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