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Meet Keith Qualls of One World Unity Project in Chula Vista

Today we’d like to introduce you to Keith Qualls.

Keith, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In 2006, I went to school and began a new career as a Prosthetic technician- work that is very rewarding. In 2011, I was invited by a coworker to join a medical team, with a small group of Prosthetic professionals going to Guatemala to provide limbs for the Mayan people there. This trip led to another and another. On one trip, we fit a young man with TWO new legs. He had lost both to an open fire in his home as a child.

Researching this, I found that the majority of people in rural Guatemala cook on an open fire in their homes and these open fires cause many injuries and respiratory issues, especially in children. While providing prosthetics is wonderful to work, why not prevent the injury in the first place? We joined a stove mission with another group- installing safe, clean-burning stoves in homes and getting water filters directly to families.

In 2014, I did all the necessary paperwork to begin a non-profit and obtained 501(c)3 status. Since then, my wife and I continue to do both Stove and Prosthetic mission work with 3-4 trips per year. In July 2018, we will begin our 3rd mission of the year and we are beginning to plan for 2019.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We are lucky to have a network of prosthetic shops and suppliers who donate supplies needed in Guatemala. The toughest part of our work is fundraising to cover baggage fees to get the supplies down to the work site. In addition, we have to continually fundraise to cover the costs of the stoves and water filters.

For each home, the cost is $250 for a clean burning stove and a water filter. On each stove trip, we will install a minimum of 30 stoves in homes and also install industrial stoves in rural schools. Our volunteers pay the majority of their own travel expenses. Their willingness to come and do this work is amazing!

Please tell us about One World Unity Project.
One clean burning stove and water filter prevents the majority of disease and injury for an entire family. Mortality rates are a staggering 20% of children do not live to their 5th birthday as a result of fire injury, parasites and respiratory illness. We can prevent this.

A household has an average of 5-6 family members. This means we can easily change the lives of those people as well as well as the next generations. These simple things that we take for granted, should be accessible to others. While $250 seems like an easy price for us here in the US, imagine that your daily income is $2-3. The stove cost is now totally out of reach.

Prosthetic work allows a man to go work and provide for his family, a child to go to school and play with the other kids and a woman to care for her children. It is more than just physical- it is pride. The people that we have worked with in Guatemala are some of the hardest working and most gracious people we have ever met.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
We have had travel issues, customs issues, illness (thankfully mild!), and some very emotional times. Every trip and planning has had its challenges, but nothing has stopped the desire to continue to make a difference in one small part of the world.


  • Sponsor a family Stove $200
  • Sponsor a family Water $50
  • Sponsor a volunteer **up to $1500
  • Supplies transport donation $100

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