Smokeless Chulha Workshop IIT Delhi

by  | Feb 20, 2018 | Workshops | 0 comments

One of the great things to come out of the various meetings over the last month were connections with wonderful people who could see the potential for this work to really have an impact. Two of those people were Sarandeep and Aparna who run the Women’s Empowerment and Entrepreneurship (WEE) Foundation from IIT Delhi. We met in Ranchi at the TEDx event where they were both speaking on various aspects of their work with women and empowerment.

Sarandeep and I arrived on the same flight from Delhi to Ranchi, and connected in the taxi to the hotel. It was clear that we had interests in common, and when our speaking engagements were done the next day, we went our separate ways with a promise to stay in touch and work together in the future. I didn’t know it would be so soon.

After Ranchi I flew to Mumbai and together with Nitisha we did a round of meetings and media, and somehow we were noticed by Viacom, who wanted to film one of our workshops for their Colors Infinity Channel who are launching the Shark Tank program in India… and they specifically wanted me to be running the workshop and they needed the footage soon.

It’s a long and curious web of connectivity, but since I only had a few days left in India on my current visa, and we weren’t planning a workshop in that period, I decided to ask Sarandeep if we could put something together at IIT Delhi (Indian Institute of Technology) at short notice. To his credit, he immediately got engaged and cleared a path so that together with Tanzin we could run a hands-on practical workshop on the grounds of the campus, as well as giving us access to a lecture hall to do the theory component of the workshop. All the necessary permissions were arranged, and Viacom organised to have their film crew onsite for both days over the weekend of the workshop.

Tanzin came down the day before to prepare the materials and to make some clay donuts in advance. In the 2 day version of the workshop, the thing that takes the most time is allowing the clay donuts to dry so we can use them for the cook stoves. Tanzin worked his magic, as always, and found all the ingredients we needed and made the donuts on Friday. Saturday midday I started the workshop with the small group who turned up to learn the magic of smokeless fire by showing a short video of the process and talking through the theory of how it all works.

By Saturday afternoon, after a quick lunch break, we were having fun mixing the rest of the clay and forming donuts while Tanzin was putting the finishing touches on the demonstration chulha. We agreed that for Sunday we would need to be making chai on the chulha, and I’m happy to say that 2 of our group brought all the required ingredients so we were indeed making chai (and proving the effectiveness of smokeless fire) the next day. With just a few sticks and twigs that were lying about on the ground, we fired up the demonstration chulha and were happily making chai on a (relatively) smokeless cook stove. It had yet to fully dry and cure, so there were occasional puffs of smoke as the internals got hot enough to burn out the bio matter we had mixed into the clay, but sure enough, a bit later in the day after it had run for a few hours, it was burning clean and hot.

Tanzin did his trick of holding a piece of aluminium into the flame and we all watched as it quickly melted and burnt away. That shows the temperature was well over 750C inside the stove, hot enough to burn smoke. The simple magic of adding rice puffs to the clay along with a design that maximises airflow, proved again how easily and cheaply we could make smokeless fire that would reduce the impact of Household Air Pollution (HAP) on the staggering numbers of people who still depend on rudimentary fire for cooking.

According to the World Health Organisation there are 3 billion people still reliant on basic fire or rudimentary unventilated cook stoves around the world. Around 800 million suffer from poor health, and over 4 million people die from indoor pollution related causes each year, usually women and children who spend the most time in the kitchen.

We are currently in the process of rolling out these workshops throughout India. With more than 1 million deaths due to HAP each year, there is no shortage of demand or interest. The project is not-for-profit and we are already making a difference. If you feel inspired to help, we are happy to accept volunteers, donations and whatever support you are able to offer.

  • We were able to install 4 chulas at the end
    1 week ago by smokelesscookstove_team We were able to install 4 chulas at the end of second day at Khor village. Lots more house holds have kept their donuts ready and we will return to the village after a week to help them install these chulas. Our plan is to make sure that every house in this village gets a Smokeless chulah before the monsoons. We need passionate volunteers to help us with this work. If you are a Mumbai or a Thane resident, do write to us if you wish to volunteer on this project. Visit our website to check the volunteering opportunities or
  • A mud chulah holds a much deeper significance in the
    2 weeks ago by smokelesscookstove_team A mud chulah holds a much deeper significance in the lives of homes who still use them for cooking! It represents culture, food and it's taste, cooking behaviours, traditions and native practices. It is a symbol of a family unit spearheaded by woman who is the master of the kitchen! Our  #smokelesscookstoverevolution  program is an effort to simply improve the efficiency of mud chulah and making it as Smokeless as possible using the principal of Rocket Stove Technology. This does not take away the essence of food being cooked on a mud chulah but surely provides relief to the women
  • Our donut factory is up and running in the villages
    6 days ago by smokelesscookstove_team Our donut factory is up and running in the villages of Dediapada, Gujarat! We are hoping to see our Smokeless chulahs burning smokelessly for these Vasava tribes residing in Narmada district in the state of Gujarat. This project is being executed in collaboration with Sparsh Trust and Jeevan Tirth, grass roots NGO based in Gujarat.  #ngo   #smokelesscookstoverevolution   #Gujarat   #diy 
  • Khor is a beautiful village with a small population of
    2 weeks ago by smokelesscookstove_team 'Khor' is a beautiful village with a small population of about 250 people in 50 house holds! Falling under Shahpur tensil in Thane, it's interestingly located on the foothills of Mahuli fort! Being a hilly area, these villagers grapple with the issue of water supply as the rain water flows away and they are unable to store it. Since they are completely dependent on a good monsoon for the entire year, these Thakur tribes are already looking nervous about the impending water shortage and a below average monsoon prediction. We will be working in this village for the next three
  • We started our Smokeless Cookstove training program at Khor village
    2 weeks ago by smokelesscookstove_team We started our Smokeless Cookstove training program at Khor village in Shahpur, Thane! Our lead trainers  @ralph_sirius  and  @mukundarpanashram_  were able to swiftly go through the donut making process with the village women as these women are super excited for our smokeless mud chulahs! Inspite of extremely high temperatures, we were able to prepare the building blocks for 6 chulahs within a matter of few hours! Clearly, any kind of social impact solution can be effective if there is participation and acceptance from the beneficiary communities.  #smokelesscookstoverevolution   #ngo   #maharashtra 

The Smokeless Cookstove Foundation is a Non-profit organisation working towards curbing the problem of Household Air Pollution.


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