ShelterBox, created by the RC of Helston-Lizard, Cornwall, England in 2000, was in response to shelter those people who were caught in disaster areas caused by earthquakes, floods, hurricanes….  These boxes were to complement the other agencies whose focus was primarily on food and medicine.  In the early days, the Boxes were distributed with some customization to meet the local geography and its climate.  Now the emphasis is on ShelterKits which allow for singular items to meet the local situations. This means that people’s needs may be for hardware (saws, hammers for e.g.…) to help rebuild their homes, water filters, carrying jugs, solar powered lights…. At the same time tents can be provided.
Before any distribution can take place, ShelterBox International deploys a team of volunteers to the disaster area.  Their role is to receive political clearance to complete a needs assessment.  Then the trained and experienced volunteers establish a working relationship with the key local organizers as well as with the other international agencies such as Canada Aid, Oxfam….   Once the local organizers have determined the sites, custom clearance, and volunteers for transportation of the “boxes”, an official request is made to ShelterBox International.
Our Club, the Rotary Club of West Ottawa, has been responding to the ShelterBox requests for funds since 2001.   Since then, our Club has generously funded Shelterboxes and ShelterKits to: Ecuador (4), Haiti (11), Namibia (1), Mozambique (1), Nigeria (1), Cameroon (1), Kenya (7), Niger (7) Pakistan (9), Lebanon (1) Gaza (2), Nepal (1) Myanmar (1), Philippines plus another 12 shipments.  Over the decades, the RCWO has donated over $60,000 to aid those who are caught in natures’ horrific disasters.
For a video presentation of International ShelterBox’s invaluable work, take a few moments to view the attachments.