Fire for Life – an Escea not-for-profit project

Fire For Life - The Beginning

Driven by their purpose – to put a better fireplace in the heart of every home – Fire for Life was a project that just made sense for Escea.

Escea CEO and founder Nigel Bamford was moved when he discovered the impact of open fire cooking in developing countries. Unsafe, unhealthy and inefficient – and impacting millions of families worldwide, everyday.

Committed to solving problems in innovative ways he felt that we could, and should do something to help.

So, using our unique skills we set about solving the problem by doing what we do best. By making better fires.

“Making innovative fireplaces is at the core of everything we do. So, when we saw an opportunity to improve the lives of people who only have an open fire to cook on, it was a no-brainer for us to get involved.” – Nigel Bamford, Escea Fireplace Company Founder

In displaced communities, fires are constructed out of rubble found around the camp.

A better Fire - The Fire for Life Stove

We made it our mission to help these communities by creating a safer, more efficient way for them to cook.

Designed specifically with families like these in mind, we created the Fire for Life Cooking Stove – a portable light-weight cooking stove that can easily be moved around, is simple to light, keep burning, requires less fuel and burns cleaner.

The stove would be safer too – both because less smoke was being produced that could be inhaled, and it would also contain the sparks and flames. While the efficiency of the new stove would save on the amount of fuel needed to burn, it would also be kinder on the environment.

After several years, thousands of hours dedicated to research and development, and countless prototypes later, the team had accomplished their goal – they had created a safer, healthier, easier and more efficient cooking method for people who only have open fires to cook on – Fire for Life was born.

The Fire for Life stove is a great solution, producing less smoke and risk of fire - and requiring less fuel to burn.

The First Fires – The Syrian Story

It was an appearance on the evening news that caught the attention of Escea CEO and founder Nigel Bamford. He watched as ReliefAid Founder Mike Seawright discussed the issues facing communities in the developing world, and the humanitarian work his organisation was undertaking in Syrian Displacement Camps to help alleviate these problems.

After listening to Mike, Nigel realised they both had similar concerns. He reached out to Mike to see if the Fire for Life stove would be helpful– to improve the way families cooked and prepared meals in a safer and more efficient way.

Mike had his team in Syria survey those in need and assess the scale of the problem. They found the biggest issue was their access to fuel – the scarcity of wood, the cost of it, or the time spent collecting it. Not only that, but the existing fires they were cooking on – mostly made of clay, mud or stones – weren’t efficient, nor were they safe or easy to use. They were also using too much fuel to burn – something that Nigel knew the stove could help with.

So Escea and ReliefAid teamed up to get what we expected to be the first of many shipments of stoves from our factory in Dunedin, to families in Syria. In order to get the stoves there, in the easiest and most economical way possible, the stove’s flat-pack design enabled them to be shipped in a flat pallet. Upon arrival, the ReliefAid team would assemble the stoves with a sheet metal roller (supplied by Escea), a hammer and plyers.

The fires were then distributed to camps, and in early 2021 we received the first reports of displaced families using the Escea Fire for Life Stoves. This initial shipment was very well received by the Syrian families, which was encouraging to both Escea and ReliefAid. Consequently, Escea and ReliefAid have agreed to continue their partnership to deliver thousands more Fire for Life cooking stoves to those in need.

Escea is continuing to send stoves to Syria, and after many requests, there is now a way you can help send more in the next shipment – purchase a stove for yourself and Escea will give two more. For more information, visit