This Indian man reduced the dependence of rural women on traditional fuels for cooking through super affordable solar cookers
In India, the cost of a regular pressure cooker is more than a thousand bucks, making it almost unaffordable for the less fortunate sections of the society. Women in rural areas depend on traditional fuels for cooking like wood and cow dung. They often have to travel great distances to source wood for cooking.
Thanks to Alzubair Saiyed, the senior manager at the Gujarat Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network, women in rural areas in the state of Gujarat have embraced a new way of cooking that doesn’t involve use of traditional fuels or expensive cookers — solar cookers that cost merely 50-100 rupees.
Alzubair used to be an Assistant Professor in an engineering institute, and his aim was to find an effective solution for the problems induced due to the unhealthy methods of cooking practiced in various Indian villages. After a lot of research, the most straightforward yet most efficient solution to the problem turned out to be a solar cooker.
“Half of the world’s population is still dependent on fuels generated from wood or cow dung for cooking, and every year, 160 lakh hectares of forests are destroyed to obtain wood. This not only harms the environment but is also a root cause for various severe health issues for those continuously exposed to its fumes. In this case, it is the women,” says Alzubair.
Alzubair and his former student, Virendra Dhakhda, have been working on a new design for a solar cooker prototype that can be easily made at home, with the help of paper, cardboard or waste materials.
Talking about this version, he explains, “This solar cooker will be light and foldable and long-lasting. You will need cardboard, aluminium foil, four clothespins and a lanyard. The utensils used should either be of steel or aluminium, and you would need to paint their exterior with black so that they absorb maximum heat. Most of these things are usually available at home, and if not, the maximum expenditure would not go beyond Rs 100. You can easily cook dal, rice, vegetables, dhokla, handwa, cake etc.”