This Mother’s Day, Dallas nonprofit HELPS International is asking people to celebrate the women who shaped them by donating a tax-deductible, life-changing gift designed to empower the women of Guatemala. The HELPS100 Campaign was created to help 100 Guatemalan women obtain fuel-efficient cook stoves and high-quality water filters.
“This campaign to celebrate and empower women is such a worthy cause and donations can be made on behalf of the women in our own lives who inspire us,” stated Bill McMillan, executive director of HELPS International. “For as little as $50, we can honor our mothers, sisters and friends while changing the lives of women in some of Guatemala’s most underserved communities.”
Millions of women in rural Guatemala must spend hours each day kneeling on dirt floors to cook over open fires in their homes in order to feed their families. This results in many small children suffering severe burns from the flames of the open pits in their homes. In addition to the risk of burns, smoke from the open fires builds up quickly and causes respiratory issues from poor ventilation. And very few of these same homes are equipped with clean sources of water that are safe for drinking.
To solve these issues, former HELPS medical team leader Don O’Neal, a retired mechanical engineer, invented a simple stove from locally sourced materials. The concrete-block base, Plancha-top (Spanish for “iron”) ONIL stove replaces traditional ground-based, in-home cooking fire pits and is vented through the dwelling’s rooftop to eliminate both respiratory problems and the risk of severe burns. It also reduces wood consumption by 70 percent, allowing increased time for activities once spent gathering wood. To facilitate a clean drinking water source, the ONIL Gravity Water Filters now eliminate 100 percent of parasites and 99.9 percent of pathogenic bacteria.
As a part of this year’s campaign, HELPS International is on a mission to raise crucial funds to help 100 Guatemalan women stand up, save money and keep their families healthy and safe by donating fuel-efficient cook stoves and high-quality water filters. Donations will go to purchase the ONIL stoves and water filters, which will be installed by volunteers from the HELPS Women Helping Women initiative alongside the recipients, who have paid a portion of the cost. To donate, please visit the HELPS100 Campaign donation page.
To date, HELPS’ volunteers and supporters have worked alongside the people of Guatemala to provide more than 250,000 homes with clean air and water, more than 4,000 farming families with the skills and resources to boost crop production, and nearly 475 students with a high-quality education.