Solar Cooking

Solar Oven Pilot Project

Thanks to the passion of volunteer Jack Howell, Trust in Education initiated a solar oven pilot project. We started with five solar cookers made by Jack and mailed them to Afghanistan in August 2010. During Budd’s visit to Kabul in September, they assembled the ovens and delivered them to families living in refugee camps and one of our learning centers. They were welcomed not unlike the coke bottle in the 1981 film “The God’s Must be Crazy.”  (In other words, What in the world is this crazy thing?) The verdict’s out.


A small group of volunteers from the Bay Area spent several months of Sundays building 100 more ovens, which are being shipped to Kabul in the spring of 2011.





Why is this project so important?

  • Afghanistan has 300 days of sun a year and it’s free!
  • Over 70% of wood fires in Afghanistan are used to heat water.
  • All bacteria harmful to humans is killed when water reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The ovens can obtain 350 degrees within 45 minutes. If they do nothing more than use the ovens to make clean drinking water, it will be worth it.
  • Wood is very expensive, prohibitively expensive for many families. The cost to Trust in Education for heating a classroom during the winter exceeds the cost of a teacher.
  • Solar cooking is smoke free! Smoke inhalation is a major health hazard worldwide, particularly for women, who do most of the cooking. It’s the fifth most common cause of death in developing countries.

The conversion to solar cooking is yet another of TIE’s educational challenges. What better place to start than with those who can least afford the alternatives?


  1. Our Grantees « The Khaled Hosseini Foundation - June 26, 2012

    […] funded seedling programs and a wide variety of education and empowerment programs.  Most recently, TIE has worked with Jack Howell on the construction of solar ovens.  Howell and TIE volunteers constructed 100 solar ovens that were shipped to Afghanistan along […]

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