“I feel like a chef!”

“I feel like a chef! I feel so fancy!” Her face was alight with joy as she cooked her first meal on her new eco-friendly stove.

For years, the moms in the Strong Families Program in Cancun have been cooking over wood fires right by their homes. This type of cooking meant they were bent over, sometimes at a 90 degree angle, in order to feed their families. It also meant smoke from the wood was everywhere, often moving into their family homes; the open fires, ashes, and embers in the same areas their children played. Each mom faithfully cooked meals for their family, while also keeping an eye on her children, and risking her own health.

Lili Camacho, Back2Back staff psychologist, took note of the back, hip, and knee pains the women were experiencing and researched how to make a necessary task for their families a little safer, and healthier, for each mom. “There were many roadblocks to getting the stoves,” shared Amy Kelly, Back2Back staff. “Lilli never quit advocating for the moms and their needs; she was tenacious in finding the most affordable option and didn’t stop until they were hand delivered.”

Lili’s research paid off. 20 moms received ecological stoves to cook on. The wood for the fire goes inside the stove, keeping the smoke and flames contained, directing it toward a tube emitting the smoke high above their homes. Families are not breathing in smoke, mothers are able to stand upright while cooking, and there are no longer open flames near the children as they play.

Advocacy like Lili’s keeps families healthy, safe, and clear on just how loved and seen they are.