Now people can breathe freely!
Just picture this - an open fire producing dense smoke in a house with a low ceiling. Children sitting in front of the fire coughing and eyes watering. Anybody who has been to Nepal knows this situation.
When we first came to know smokeless ovens we took up the idea immediately. We selected two brick layers in Okharpauwa and trained them. After successfully finishing their training they were given two wooden moulds to produce the required bricks.
Costs for material and wages are low. House owners are charged half of these costs to make sure that the ovens are serviced and maintained properly.
Building an oven is easy. But preparations for this project were much more difficult than anticipated as the villagers had to be convinced of the new technology. This took several meetings and detailed discussions. Apart from preventing burns and permanent damage to the eyes or ear, nose and throat area, the heat output of the new ovens is much higher (wood burns better).
Most ovens built have two fireholes: one with 100% heat and the other with 80% for keeping prepared food hot. This is a very useful feature but totally unusual for the local housewives.
Since nobody allowed the old oven to be removed before the new one is visibly functioning, the new oven was built in another corner of the house - quite simple. Building is quick and is only interrupted by the drying process. It is great to see that even when the pots are lifted no smoke escapes into the house but disappears through the chimney and is directed into the open via a T-fitting.
Due to the different construction of the new earthquake-proof houses built after the 2015 earthquake, demand for these simple smokeless ovens has gradually come to a standstill. Cooking is done mainly in an outside shelter next to the house or gas cookers are used.
Over the past years we have been able to build more than 500 ovens. This gave the villagers a better quality of life. Especially the children benefitted from the project and the oven builders enjoyed the work a lot.