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Peru Children’s Trust

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Last updated: June 24, 2008      

The Peru Children’s Trust is a small Christian charity run by a couple called Manuel and Gay Reynaga. They work in the high Andes of Peru in the city and shantytowns of Huancayo. The main work of the charity is to support 100 of the more disadvantaged children through sponsorship, which pays towards schooling costs. They also support the families of these children with medical and pastoral care and have initiated a number of small business development schemes from carrot farming to brick manufacturing.

In 1997 Manuel and Gay came to our Youth Group (Enigma – St Mary’s Maidenhead) to talk about the Peru Children’s Trust. Among other things they mentioned the fact that much time and money is spent on collecting firewood and buying gas to cook with. They also mentioned that the sun is very hot during the day and it should be possible to use the sun’s energy to cook with.

Being an engineer, this got me thinking, so I did some research and found a number of useful resources. The most inspiring book was Cooking with the Sun: How to Build and Use Solar Cookers’ by Beth and Dan Halacy.

So during the summer of 1999 my wife and I set about making our first and second prototypes. The first was a bit wobbly and would only boil water if there were no wind. The second was much more efficient but a bit time consuming to make. But the joy and glee of boiling your first potatoes, or frying your first sausages is immense!

Our third model was more stable, simpler to make and more efficient. It is this model that we decided would be best for Peru, so this case study is mainly concerned with the manufacture and use of this solar stove.

In September 1999 a group of seven people from St Mary's went out to Peru to visit the Reynagas and to help with their work in a variety of ways. The seven included David & Gill Coe, Jim & Ali Peck, Quinton & Jody Stowell and Vicky Warren. We spent three days in Lima, did a ten day tour around Peru and spent the remainder of our four week trip with the Reynagas. Apart from visiting many of the sponsored families and passing on gifts from English sponsors, we also organised two 'Fun Days' for the 100 sponsored children. This involved sketches (The Prodigal Son), art and crafts, active games, lots of food, and for some of the older children - building stoves. It was an exhausting few days but very rewarding.

[This text was borrowed from http://www.sunspot.org.uk/Solar.htm.]

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