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“In May, 2001, my husband died after an eight-year battle with breast cancer. That year my life took a new direction. It all started because I volunteered with a medical team in Guatemala. I volunteered for two years with the team until one day Irma came into the kitchen where I was working and asked if she could speak to us.
She had fallen into an open fire at the age of two. Her hands had been burned shut. For sixteen years she had prayed for a miracle, and our medical team had restored the use of her hands.
We needed to prevent burns, but burns were only part of the problem. The babies strapped to their mother’s backs were breathing the equivalent of three packs of cigarettes per day, and the leading cause of death of children under 5 was lower respiratory infection caused by open cooking fires. I learned that the need in Guatemala alone was for six million stoves, and knew I had to do something.
The only solution was to make and sell safe fuel-efficient stoves that would save lives.
Within a year, and with the help of my Rotary club, Eugene Southtowne, and other supporters, we not only developed a safe, portable, affordable fuel-efficient stove, but we helped Gustavo Peña start a factory to produce them in El Salvador.
There are now seven factories in four countries with more in development. StoveTeam has worked with entrepreneurs who have created their own businesses and produced and sold more than 44,600 stoves, improving the lives of more than 334,000 people in Mexico and Central America—but we’ve only just begun. Join us.”