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Thursday 07 March 2013

International Women's Day 2013
International Women's Day 2013 Dr. Ann Grahame accepting the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award, February 2013.

International Women's Day is a global celebration of women past, present, and future, reviewing how far they have come in their journey for equality, peace and development. Every year on 8 March, women worldwide unite, network and mobilise for meaningful change. Today ShelterBox is celebrating some of the many inspirational women the charity has come across around the globe for their compassion, dedication and contribution.


ShelterBox Canada Ambassador Dr. Ann Grahame was awarded the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award that credits Canada's unsung heroes for their efforts at home and abroad.

Governor General David Johnston presented Ann with the award during a recent visit to Canada's Saskatchewan province.

'Dr. Ann Grahame is engaged in her community as a leader with the Rotary in Regina,' stated the award citation. 'In that capacity, she promotes literacy and assists with youth exchanges and the ShelterBox disaster relief project.'

ShelterBox Canada is proud to be included among Ann’s diverse volunteer initiatives, and applauds her dedication to bettering her community.

'Ann has been a tremendous leader at ShelterBox Canada, and she has shared her passion for the organisation with her community,' said ShelterBox Canada Executive Director Lisa Salapatek. 'Ann’s involvement has included setting up tent displays everywhere from pancake breakfasts to community fairs, and giving presentations at Rotary Clubs and other events to raise awareness for ShelterBox. Additionally, her support in fundraising in and around Regina for international disaster relief has truly demonstrated Ann’s commitment to ShelterBox Canada.'

Running for ShelterBox


Meanwhile, in the USA, Tammi Mayfield has been running to raise awareness and funds for ShelterBox. On March 3, she ran the marathon at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa's Tanzania.


Tammi in Tanzania before running the marathon, March 2013.

'I have logged well over 700 miles training in my shoes but I wanted to do more than that,' said Tammi. 'My mission has been to support ShelterBox, an awesome cause, which I became aware of just after Haiti 2010. I had an opportunity to participate in the marathon at Mount Kilimanjaro and decided to raise money for ShelterBox in conjunction with my trip. At the time of the event we had several active deployments in Africa. We held a silent auction and raised over US$1,000. I run tomorrow proudly with my ShelterBox shirt.'

'Tammi is one of our most active volunteers,' added Emily Sperling, ShelterBox USA president. 'We are incredibly inspired by her passion and her continued efforts to help us provide shelter, warmth and dignity to families devastated by disasters all around the world.'

Almost a quarter of ShelterBox's 231 Response Team members are women. Rotarian Liz Odell is one of them and lives in the UK. She has been on eight deployments and was recently in the Philippines helping Typhoon Bopha survivors. Though an inspirational woman herself, Liz met Jocel Mante, a woman who inspired her in the Asian country.

Jocel and her husband Ronel lived on Po Island, about a kilometre off the coast of Mindanao Island's Kinablangan, with their two children, a boy and a girl aged 12 and seven. Their home collapsed around them on the night of the typhoon. Both their children died. Jocel sustained a head injury as their house walls were blown inwards. The next day they managed to make it to the mainland where they were sheltered in their aunt's house in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

'Calm and dignified'

'It's hard to imagine being in the middle of that storm in the pitch black, with your house being destroyed around you in the middle of the night, the waves roaring across the island, and not knowing what has happened to your children,' said Liz. 'Despite all that has happened to her, Jocel was calm and dignified, and very grateful that she now has a roof over her head.


Jocel and Ronel with their new home, Philippines, January 2013.

'Her and Ronel now live in a ShelterBox tent. While this cannot ease the pain of losing their family, it at least gives them some private space to start coming to terms with their grief and begin to rebuild their lives.'

ShelterBox relies on its global supporters to help families, like Ronel and Jocel Mante, in the aftermath of disaster. This work would not be possible without the dedication, enthusiasm, and ongoing support from volunteers like Ann, Tammi and Liz, and ShelterBox extends its heartfelt thanks to all of its women supporters.
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