Posted by Tom Deuson (Watertown)
Since 2000, ShelterBox has provided shelter, warmth, and dignity following more than 300 disasters in over 100 countries. We respond urgently to earthquake, volcano, flood, hurricane, cyclone, tsunami, or conflict by delivering boxes of essential shelter, aid and other life-saving supplies. Each iconic green ShelterBox contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, a water filtration system, emergency lighting, and other tools for survival.
What began as a local connection with one Cornish Rotary Club in the United Kingdom has led to an international movement that’s raised over $68 million for ShelterBox to date – enough for 140,000 ShelterBox family tents or 390,000 ShelterKits.
First adopted as a millennium project by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in 2000, the support of Rotary members and clubs around the world saw ShelterBox become Rotary’s Project Partner in Disaster Relief in 2012. Since then, the partnership has helped transform ShelterBox into an internationally recognized disaster relief charity, supporting families with emergency shelter after disaster. The partnership extends far beyond financial support. Around 1,000 Rotary members are involved in ShelterBox as volunteers, staff or response team members.
Across the world, from the Philippines to Paraguay, and Syria to the Lake Chad Basin of Africa, ShelterBox and Rotary are working to ensure no family is without shelter when disaster strikes. We are grateful to have Rotarians involved in ShelterBox responses providing the vital community links needed to deliver aid, provide hope, and enable recovery to often forgotten families worldwide. Rotary is at the heart of every deployment we undertake. In fact, 90 percent of ShelterBox responses have been assisted by Rotary.
In 2018 with the support of Rotary Clubs from around the world, we provided shelter and supplies for 210,000 people whose lives were devastated by disaster. We were able to respond to world events 18 times, sending a variety of essential shelter and aid items to 17 different countries. 10 of the countries we operated in were affected by natural disasters, in most of which Rotary clubs provided invaluable in-country assistance.
In March of 2019, ShelterBox and Rotary worked together in Malawi, responding to Cyclone Idai after it caused widespread chaos along the South Eastern coast of Africa. 100,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, with at least one million acres of crops ruined, leaving communities at risk of poverty and food insecurity.
A ShelterBox team deployed, and met with District 9210’s Governor, Hutch Mthinda in Lilongwe and with President Eric Chinkanda, of the Rotary Club of Limbe, who were raising funds to carry out a food distribution. We explored ways to support their project by connecting them with relevant government and humanitarian actors. They were able to move forward with the delivery of food aid, complementing the emergency ShelterBox response supporting nearly 2,000 families with tarpaulins, water filters and carriers, solar lights and mosquito nets.
Each year, Rotary helps us to go further, support more people and access areas that would otherwise be impossible to reach. The partnership between ShelterBox and Rotary is so much more than a single green box or a tarp, it’s about uniting to take action and create lasting change in the lives of families after disaster or in times of conflict.
“On behalf of District 9210, I would like to thank ShelterBox for coming to our rescue. We value your relief work during the cyclone disaster, and we trust that you will continue to partner with us in future disaster response programs in our district. - DG Hutch Mthinda
This response, and the ten others we’ve undertaken through the years were made possible due to the continued support of Rotary Clubs and Rotarians.
We will be at PETS and the District Training Assembly, join us to learn more about ShelterBox.