By Gabriella Scarpa
Each year, 3 million of the 4 billion people who rely on open fire to cook their meals die from indoor air pollution-related diseases. Taking this grave statistic into her own hands, Sarah Collins created Wonderbag, a product “to economically empower women and girls across the world by addressing the critical daily challenges of time poverty, self worth and cleaner, healthier cooking. [Wonderbag is] about finding, supporting and innovating culturally relevant solutions to life’s challenges for communities around the world.”
On to the product itself, Wonderbag is a pillow-like insulated bag that is used by following four simple steps: “boil it, bag it, stand it and share it.” The food needs to be brought to a boil on a stove, left to simmer, and then placed in a pot with the lid on in the Wonderbag. Once the lid is closed, the food can cook for up to 12 hours, without the use of any heat sources. With this initiative, Wonderbag has decreased air-pollution related disease deaths by 60% each year.
So how do people in developing countries get Wonderbags? The Wonderbag mission is “supported by the Buy One, Give One model – for every Wonderbag purchased, a donation is made to the Foundation in order to support Wonderfeasts and subsidize Wonderbags to communities across the world one community at a time.” Wondfeasts are where volunteers come into the villages and perform a live demonstration on how to use the Wonderbag. After this, everyone in attendance gets to share the meal and enjoy the company of others. Next to showing how Wonderbags are used, the Wonderfeasts are a chance to “bring together leaders in the community to discuss other challenges and opportunities within the community. [The] goal is that the community leaves feeling empowered and close together and does not feel alone in whatever circumstance surround that particular community.”
What started as a shocking statistic and an imaginative vision has turned into an initiative that is not just saving lives while being environmentally conscious, but also bringing together communities of people in order to grow and develop societies from within.