Selvam is the kind of person that makes a lasting impression when you meet him and watch him install a smokeless stove in a family home. His kindness and respect for the people of his community is evident even in the tiny details of fitting each new stove and chimney in tight and “unworkable” spaces.
As a father of two small children, Selvam is aware of the urgent need to remove smoke from the home by installing cooking stoves with chimneys. His priorities in targeting needy families in local villages immediately zone in on newborn babies and children under 5 years old, the most vulnerable.
He is a trained electrician who also has skills in plumbing, landscaping and light carpentry, and is over qualified for the work of crawling around tiny spaces on his hands and knees, removing dust and debris from old stoves, mixing cement for the final plastering of the new models, and chiseling holes in makeshift tin roofs to push through the chimney pipe.
Selvam’s commitment to this work of smokeless stoves is unmistakable, and he devotes more than an average work day to this full time project. As a participant with the original team that experimented, tested and tweaked each improvement to our model, he is able to manage the project successfully. Selvam’s expertise and experience enables him to resource materials, establish contacts with new villages, teach local women proper use of the stoves and provide educational materials for long term community awareness that can save lives.