Nine-year-old Caroline from Malawi (pictured above; centre) has lots of energy and is full of plans for the future. She rarely sits still, she loves dancing and playing hide and seek, and she wants to be a nurse when she's older.
Until recently, though, Caroline often had to miss school because her family was too poor to buy food every day. Her father was an alcoholic and out of work, while her mother, Adera, was struggling to provide for the children on her own. A poor harvest of crops only compounded a very difficult situation.
But life has changed for the better since Adera set up a small business making and selling clay cook-stoves, as a result of training and resources she received from United Purpose. The eco-friendly stoves are much more efficient than traditional open fires and help reduce high rates of deforestation.
"These stoves do not require a lot of firewood," Adera explains. "Before, a bundle of firewood would only last us three days, but with these stoves it can last for three weeks."
Less time spent collecting wood means more time for Caroline to do her homework and more time for Adera to invest in her business. The extra income she earns from selling the stoves has had a profound impact on the entire family.
"Now I have peace of mind and the children can have food in the morning and when they come back from school," Adera says. "I'm planning to move into another house and buy a bicycle and livestock."
As for Caroline, she is enjoying school more than ever - and she is making plans to attend secondary school and fulfil her dream of becoming a nurse.
Through our cook-stoves project in Malawi, we train people like Adera to use local materials to make eco-friendly cook-stoves. The stoves save carbon, as they use 60-80% less firewood than traditional open fires. The environmental good is quantifiable and converted into Gold Standard carbon credits. Organisations in the UK and beyond can buy these carbon credits to offset their unavoidable carbon emissions - and the money they spend on this goes straight back to Malawi to maintain existing projects and fund new initiatives. Find out more about our carbon initiative here.