Ashadesh (meaning ‘hope-country’ in Bengali) is a not for profit social enterprise started by Steve and Jane Wilson, who live in an urban poor community in Kolkata, India. Our project involves getting clean burning stoves into homes in the slums that can benefit from them.
Globally around 3.5 million people die each year from respiratory diseases caused by indoor air pollution (IAP) from open fires and simple stoves. This is a very real issue for many of our neighbours in the slums of Kolkata, who use simple wood, coal and charcoal stoves that generate large amounts of smoke and carbon monoxide.
What can be done about it?
We have identified a few clean burning stove options that are well suited to the communities in which we are working. Each stove type has reduced levels of pollutants harmful to people’s health, and also reduced greenhouse gas emissions. LPG gas stoves are by far the most popular stove choice.
The big barrier for most families to access these stoves is the significant up-front cost. Ashadesh is therefore working to subsidise these stoves, thereby bringing them within reach of families who need them.
Another benefit is that once a family actually has a new stove, the on-going fuel cost is less than what it costs to run the traditional stove types. This means the money saved can go towards whatever it is the family needs, be it more nutritious food, housing, medical or schooling expenses. They are also a lot safer than the traditional stove types, thereby significantly reducing the risk of fire.
The stoves being introduced have significantly lower levels of climate change causing carbon emissions than the ones traditionally used. We have therefore established a carbon offsetting business, based on the difference in emissions from our projects’ stoves as compared to the ones they are replacing.
Organisations or individuals who wish to become ‘carbon neutral’ or reduce their carbon footprint (e.g. from flights or driving) can purchase carbon offsets from us, which provides the funds needed to subsidise the stoves.