Over one million Mayan indigenous people live as subsistence farmers in the resource-rich state of Chiapas, where poverty rates are the highest in Mexico. Mayan families traditionally use open-pit fires inside their homes to cook food. The fires require large amounts of wood, requiring women and children to work for hours daily to cut down trees and gather wood. High exposures to smoke causes blindness and respiratory diseases, especially in children.
DESMI will provide no-interest loans and technical support for 50 families to each acquire a stove, which channels smoke through a chimney. As each loan is repaid, more families will participate, protecting their health and saving forests.
This project will start with 50 families, increasing to 700 families over 3 years. Each stove will allow 50% less firewood to be used, protecting 3,500 trees and reducing carbon emissions. 2,500 children gain better health and quality of life.