University charity's "wonderbags" help Cape Town's poorest cut their cooking costs

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Thursday 15 January 2015

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An overseas charity led by Coventry University is helping to feed some of the poorest people in Cape Town, South Africa by giving out handy home cookers to make their mealtimes cheaper. 

The Tabeisa charity, which has been working for the past twenty years with poverty stricken communities in Africa, joined forces with Cape Town’s  local government last month to distribute 300 “wonderbags” - simple, insulated sacks that act as energy saving slow cookers -  amongst its most deprived neighbourhoods.
As well as enjoying the benefits of the wonderbags, the recipients are also being offered the opportunity to set up in business to make and sell their own homemade versions with support from the charity.
By retaining heat for several hours, the environmentally friendly wonderbags continue to cook food after it has been brought to the boil on a stove without the need to use up more fuel. As well as cutting cooking costs - a welcome relief for those with limited means – wonderbags also reduce the risk of shack fires, which are a major problem in the shanty areas where some of Cape Town’s poorest live. 

Wonderbags also reduce the use of smoke-producing paraffin, a commonly used fuel source amongst members of these communities, so inhabitants will enjoy cleaner air within their shacks and will likely be healthier as a result.

Tabeisa was established in 1994 and has to date supported over 2,000 small businesses in some of the most deprived parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Tabeisa has a trading arm called Exclusive Roots which has a shop in Oxford as well as an online store and sells a range of clothing, jewellery and accessories created by the people that the charity has helped. It is hoped that the first of the new homemade wonderbags will go on sale there soon.

Tabeisa’s Director Jane Conlon said:

We set up our charity with the aim of supporting poor and disadvantaged communities, particularly those in Africa, and to provide them with opportunities to help themselves through enterprising initiatives. That’s exactly what we’re doing again with this campaign.
Wonderbags are fantastic. They’re simple and safe to use and can really help cut the costs of mealtimes, so they’re great for the disadvantaged people we’ve been working with. We’re also hopeful that with our support some of these people will go on to make a good living by producing and selling their very own homemade wonderbags.

For further press information, please contact Mark Farnan, marketing and communications, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7765 8245 or email