Soroptimists raising money for solar cookers in Darfur |

Soroptimists raising money for solar cookers in Darfur

Barbara Grover / Special to the TribuneA mother and daughter share a cup of tea cooked by a solar cooker at an Iridimi refugee camp in Chad in 2007.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The Soroptimists International of Tahoe Sierra, together with The Jewish World Watch, is raising funds to provide refugees in Darfur with solar cooker kits.

These kits can help protect refugee women and children from rape, beatings, and other forms of violence. Women and girls who have fled the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, are particularly vulnerable while performing the critical task of collecting firewood for cooking, according to the Jewish World Watch.

Usually to cook a meal, the women and children leave the safety of the refugee camps to collect wood. As firewood is depleted, the walk to obtain it greatly increases, also increasing the risk or attack, rape and even death. Providing women with a solar cooker kit can enable them to prepare meals without risking their safety, the Jewish World Watch reports.

The Soroptimists and the Jewish World Watch hope to reduce the frequency of those crimes by providing women in refugee camps with an alternative cooking option: the solar cooker.

Each kit includes two solar cookers, two pots, two pot holders, a year’s supply of plastic cooking bags and skills training for refugee women and children.

Two solar cookers can save one ton of firewood each year, which also reduces greenhouse gases and as there is no need to tend a fire, women are free to do other tasks in safety and caring for their children. The solar cookers create an environmentally sustainable solution using renewal energy of the sun. There are also health benefits related to reducing smoke produced by a fire including respiratory issues.

The Solar Cooker Project also has an income-generating aspect as well for the women. Raw materials are sent to the camps and refugee women are hired to assemble them on site. Others train the women and children older than 15 years of age in the cooker’s proper use. After a camp is trained, a maintenance program is instituted to repair and replace cookers as needed.

A solar cooker kits costs $30. For more information, contact Mandy Kendall before April 1 at SolarCookerDonation@

The Junior S Club girls, one of the junior sections of the Soroptimists here in the Tahoe region, will also spend lunchtime for the next two weeks encouraging fellow students to donate any of their spare change for the cause.

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