At her home near Arusha, Tanzania Solar Sister entrepreneur Julieth Mollel prepares a dinner of ugali, vegetables and beans cooking on her clean cookstove. Ugali is a staple eaten in many countries in Africa and is cornmeal porridge. Working in her compact outdoor kitchen at night is easier now with the clean cookstove that puts out very little smoke and uses only a fraction of the firewood of a traditional three-stone cookstove. Julieth Mollel stands tall when she says she is a Solar Sister Entrepreneur and her success in selling the lanterns and cookstoves has given her hope for her future and the future of her grandchildren.
Julieth Mollel has not had an easy life. Julieth and her husband are from the Masai tribe and live in northern Tanzania about an hour outside of Arusha near the southern slopes of Mount Meru. Julieth has toiled all of her life farming, selling crops and keeping the house for her husband and children. Now at sixty-one (61) she works hard to keep the family going and to pay the fees to send her grandchildren to school.
Until she started working for Solar Sister in Tanzania life was becoming almost unbearable for Julieth. Cooking over her traditional cook stove made of three stones and an open fire pit put out a lot of smoke that she breathed in when she cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for her family.
The stove required a lot of firewood so daily she had to go out and bring home a huge bundle of wood. Over time she began to have severe pains in her chest and had difficulty picking up and carrying the firewood back home. Juileth has had to walk farther and farther to get firewood as the years have passed due to the cutting down of trees in the area to expand farms and build settlements as well as the collection of firewood for cooking and making charcoal.
During this time Julieth was struggling to still pay the fees for her grandchildren to attend school but it was getting harder and hard