Indore: Use of solar cookers saved women from rape, exploitation, abuse and violence. Stating this, Padma Shri Janak McGilligan Palta discussed positive impact of solar cookers on women and environment in United Nations Climate Dialogues 2020 held online.
“Before solar cookers, most rural women gathered wood for cooking, which meant bearing the smoke of wood and going out deep into forests to forge wooden blocks,” Palta said. She added that women often had to spend day and night into the forest to forge wood.
“During this time in forest, many women were raped, exploited and attacked. In fact, carrying heavy block of wood on their head often resulted in miscarriages,” Palta said.
Initiating the use of solar cookers, Palta with her husband (late) Jimmy McGilligan not only saved the trees from chopped off, but also women from being attacked.
“More than 86000 solar cookers and solar cooking lessons have been imparted at Jimmy McGilligan Center for Sustainable Development for free,” Palta said.
Sharing how her journey began into promoting use of solar energy and sustainable development, Palta said, “My life journey with the rural communities of Central India started over 35 years back, when I came to Indore, MP and trained rural and tribal women in Barli Institute.”
Eventually, as she learned about women’s problems and issues, solar cookers seemed like an obvious solution.