Archived News Stories
Solar Ovens for the Congo
April 03, 2012
In spring 2011 the Franciscan Sisters of Mary chose to focus the congregation’s intention on compassionate care of creation in collaboration with others. One practical way they have found to live out this focus is to purchase a number of solar ovens to send to families in the Congo. Mary Pat Rives, RSCJ, has handled the distribution of the solar ovens through the Help for Self Help program.
Solar ovens allow families to cook food and boil water using only the sun’s energy, right at their own homes.
In the Congo, food is usually cooked over fires inside the home; the open fires in the enclosed spaces cause high rates of lung disease. The fires also pose a great danger to children, who can fall into the open pits and be burned.
Using wood for fires also means that people are continually cutting down more and more of the trees nearby, destroying the local habitat.
As the fuel close to home is used up, women and children, who are the ones to forage for fuel, are forced to go farther and farther from home to find it. In the Congo, with its continued violence and political instability, wandering the countryside in search of wood exposes women and children to rape, abduction, even murder.
Solar ovens allow families to stay close to home and safety, providing clean, renewable energy. They are a great way to help care for all God’s creatures.