I came across and article about this and had to check it out.. I think it’s pretty neat.. Not too sure yet why I would need one.. Perhaps for a bonfire soup or stew? A Chilli in the park?
A way of transporting a pot luck to a neighbour?
A way of keeping amazing car snacks..
Dunno.. I do think the idea and cause is a good one though.. x
Sarah Collins couldn’t sleep. It was 2008, and rolling blackouts darkened the city of Johannesburg. There were severe, ongoing energy shortages throughout South Africa, and everyone was affected. Cities and towns, hospitals and schools–all only had power once every few days, and then just for a couple of hours. It was during one of these blackouts that Sarah leapt out of bed at two in the morning and woke her roommate. “I’ve got it!” she said. “I know how I’m going to change the world.”
Sarah had devoted her entire life to searching for ways to empower people in rural Africa, especially women. She worked in clinics for orphans of AIDS victims. She did environmental conservation work. She started community-based businesses to help rural women generate an income. She even created a political party and ran for government.
But on the night of the blackout, Sarah had a flashback to her childhood. Growing up on a farm in a remote part of the country, she had watched her grandmother bundle blankets and cushions around a pot of hot stew to keep it cooking and conserve her limited fuel. “Why wouldn’t that work?” she thought. Then she remembered watching bushmen bury food in the ground while they were cooking. “I thought to myself, ‘This is the oldest technology in the world.’ ”
A catalyst to escape poverty
The next day Sarah made a prototype for her heat-retention cooker, the Wonderbag. After food is brought to the boil, the pot is placed in the heavily lined bag, where it cooks slowly for up to 12 hours. “Finding firewood for cooking takes a huge amount of time for rural women,” explains Sarah, “and gathering it is very dangerous. These wood fires used to cook then cause indoor pollution, a leading cause of death in children under five worldwide. Having the Wonderbag would allow women to feed their families, generate an income and save them time.”
Sarah gave her first bag to a grandmother she knew who cared for nine orphans. The woman earned a meagre living selling food that she cooked all day over a wood fire, but still struggled to provide for her family’s basic needs. The tarpaulin where they lived was always full of smoke. The children weren’t in school, because they had to spend their days gathering firewood. “I said to her, ‘I’ll live with you while we see whether this works.’ But she got the idea straight away,” says Sarah. “Their lives changed completely. Within three months, the children only needed to gather firewood once a week and they were all in school. They had money for shoes. It was the catalyst for them to escape poverty.”
Changing the world, one bag at a time
Four years later, Sarah has sold or donated more than 600,000 Wonderbags throughout Africa.
The Wonderbag is now available on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de and Amazon.com, and Sarah’s new goal is to sell one million worldwide. For every bag sold, one is donated to a family in need. “I chose Amazon because I loved the idea of combining the oldest technology in the world with the most high-tech and efficient way of doing your shopping,” says Sarah.
Having the Wonderbag on Amazon brings healthy, wholesome, slow-cooked portable food into mainstream kitchens. Just as important, says Sarah, “it empowers consumers by giving them innovative ways to be part of the solutions that the world is looking for.”
Pretty cool huh?