Gorad, India—in a typical rural Indian home, the women spend over half a day in the kitchen. The commonly-used, traditional chulha stoves need to be blown at regular intervals, creating so much smoke pollution that they cause respiratory problems for the people who use them. They also take a long time to cook foods and consume larger amounts of fuel, contributing to deforestation.
Considering the traditional stove’s long- and short-term drawbacks, PRASAD Chikitsa (PC) decided to promote a new, Smokeless Chulha. An anonymous benefactor donated funds to buy the molds to build the stoves and, on June 3, 2011 PRASAD held the first demonstrations of how to build and use the new stoves.
A Research Associate from the Appropriate Rural Technology Institute, explained the features and benefits of the stoves, and then built two. All it took to build each stove, apart from the mold, were some sand, cement, used oil, eight bricks, wire, a cast iron fire grate and a metal pot-holder.
One demo stove was installed in the home of *Ulhas Vad, a PC staff member. At first, Ulhas’ grandmother, Granny Vad, had no confidence in the new contraption that he wanted her to try. “I was quite worried about how it worked and would it really be helpful? I thought I wouldn’t be able to cook on it,” she said.
One month later, PRASAD staff made a follow up visit and found Granny Vad singing a very different tune! She excitedly took a pot and boiled water to show how little smoke the chulha produced.
“When my daughter-in-law began to use (the new stove,) I saw that there was no smoke, so I told her that this thing will take more time to cook as the flames are not enough. But, when we started to use it regularly, I saw it cooked in much less time than the old stove. This made me very happy. This chulha doesn’t need the blowpipe either. Due to less smoke, our kitchen does not become black and looks cleaner.”
The fact is, the smokeless stoves are effective in reducing indoor air pollution, reducing fuel consumption by 50 percent and cooking time by 30 percent. PRASAD’s next step will be to expand this project and make the stoves available for more families.
The PRASAD Project expresses its heartfelt gratitude to the anonymous donor who supported and inspired this initiative. You can also support it by making a donation NOW
*Editor’s note: Ulhas was a student in PRASAD’s Arts and Crafts program. He went on to volunteer for the program before becoming a full-time, PRASAD Field Worker. Read his story, ‘The Kalakendra Arts and Crafts Program – from student to teacher’ here.