“Eat, eat, eat!” – Anonymous Jewish mother
Two of the most publicized social issues in modern times are the genocide in Darfur, Sudan and the issue of global Climate Change due to our reliance on fossil fuels.
Many organizations, and individuals, are involved in these issues. Very few – if any – have tackled them concurrently.
One Jewish organization, however, has found a way to do this. And while their effort does not represent a final end to these problems, their contribution is indeed heroic; they are saving lives and protecting thousands of people from untold misery – and reducing the global carbon footprint through one very clever project: The Solar Cooker Project.
The Solar Cooker Project, of the Jewish World Watch organization, is protecting thousands of women in the central African nation of Chad from rape and other violence while at the same time introducing sustainable, clean energy to the region.
“…And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” - Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:8 (37a)The women, refugees from the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, had previously been subject to rape and other heinous violence whenever they left the camps to retrieve fire wood for cooking. In response, Jewish World Watch – a California organization dedicated to ‘fighting genocide and human rights abuse” – provided over 18,000 refugee families in the camps with solar cookers. The cookers get all the heat they need from the relentless central African sun. All of these families’ cooking needs are now met; they don’t need firewood.
No longer do theses women – including young girls – have to risk their safety just to get the wood they need for cooking. And, of course, the solar heating is nearly 100% greenhouse-gas free. Jewish World Watch is also training the women on the installation and manufacture of these cookers – and the concept of green energy – so these women will continue to spread the word and, indeed, have unique skills as the demand for solar heating spreads.
Keep in mind the climate in Darfur; it has one of the highest rates of daily sunshine percentage in the world. Solar heating makes sense.
And with the imminent independence of South Sudan from the north, the prospect for peace and stability in Darfur is more hopeful. This means that people there, finally, may soon be worrying more about jobs and their economy rather than rape, beatings, and starvation. The skills these women are learning, through the work of Jewish World Watch, may well prove to be highly valuable as more Sudanese turn to solar heating eventually.
IN THE SPIRIT OF “TIKKUN OLAM” – A CALL FOR ACTION. ”Tikkun Olam” is a Hebrew phrase which translates roughly into “Healing the World.” If you are aware of an action which captures the spirit of “Tikkun Olam”- a group or an individual act that indeed helps to “heal the world” - such as that of the Jewish World Watch in the above article - we’d love to hear about it. Just leave your comments below.
Don Lieber’s investigative journalism and research has been published by the United Nations, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Coalition to Ban the Use of Child Soldiers and others. Don writes for LMPG about international issues, including human rights, the environment, war and peace. A native of New York City, Don calls Portland, Oregon home when he’s not traveling. He is the proud father of a slice of sunshine.