Light Up Guatemala

 With the donations of Developing World Connections we are tract to install 5000 Eco Stoves through-out Guatemala. To date we have installed just over 500.

Globally, nearly three billion people use polluting, inefficient stoves or open flame to cook their food. The smoke kills approximately 4.3 million people every year and the need for firewood contributes to deforestation.

In Guatemala, more than half of families rely on open fires to cook. The smoke fills their homes, resulting in severe health problems. Years of smoke exposure can cause pneumonia, cancer, stroke, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Respiratory infections are among the leading causes of death in Guatemala, particularly for women and children who spend a lot of time around the fires.

Guatemala loses up to 2,460 hectares of tree cover annually. That deforestation results in soil erosion, loss of animal habitat and fewer oxygen-producing trees. About one ton of firewood per person per year is used for cooking and heat. Collecting that much firewood takes time and energy or costs money. As forests and trees become increasingly scarce, villagers must travel further to find wood.


Eco Stoves are better for:

  • Family health – the stove filters and channels smoke outside the home. Women and children are no longer exposed to polluted air for long periods of time.
  • The environment – the stove uses 70% less firewood than open fires. That’s a drastic drop in the number of trees cut down and reduces other harmful effects of deforestation. As well, the stove uses local porous stone to filter out the toxic chemicals typically are released into the air during burning.
  • Family resources – the stove uses far less wood, so it also uses far less of a family’s income, time and energy.

Information and photos courtesy of Developing World Connections and Open Windows Learning Center

Open Windows Learning Center is a dynamic Education and Community Development Project in the town of San Miguel Dueñas, Guatemala.
  We have been serving the community since 2001

“With better living conditions, the children who attend our Learning Center are physically and mentally healthier.”  - Teresa Quiñonez Co-Founder/ Director

Our Beginning....

The Open Windows Foundation was founded in 2001 by three energetic and committed women: Dr. Jean Uelmen (USA), Teresa Quiñonez (Guatemala), and Ericka Kaplan (USA). They wanted to make a difference to the lives of the poor community of Teresa Quiñonez’s hometown: San Miguel Dueñas, Guatemala. They found a need and desire for children’s books, and so began lending books within the community. This developed into a free children’s learning center, run in one room donated by Teresa Quiñonez in her family home in San Miguel, with one salaried staff member and approximately 20 children.

In ten years the library’s clientele grew from 20 registered children to just over 1,000. It is open five days a week and provides a variety of learning services as well as a positive atmosphere for learning.

“It seemed like Open Windows had a life of its own.The children’s needs and desire to learn just kept pushing the Foundation along, and people kept on responding.”
- The late Doctor Jean Uelmen, Founder

Volunteer tutors come from around the world to share their teaching skills and always enjoy experiencing Guatemalan culture. It is a win, win for all involved.

Read more on our volunteer program here: Volunteer Opportunities


Our Mission

To provide education and community development opportunities for children and families in Guatemala."