There are now almost 60 million people around the world forced from their homes due to natural disasters or conflict, the greatest number since WW2. ShelterBox is a UK charity, and a world authority on providing innovative, rapid and practical shelter to families in some of the worlds’ hardest-to-reach places and most devastated disaster zones . Since founding in 2000 it’s helped more than one million people worldwide rebuild their lives and it now has affiliate ShelterBox operations across Europe, Africa, Americas and Asia.
A pacesetter, ShelterBox strives to source equipment and delivery methods that will place shelter quickly into the hands of the vulnerable when they need it most. From family-sized tents designed to withstand the elements, ShelterKits containing all the essential tools needed to start repairing and rebuilding homes, solar lighting and water filtration, to SchoolBoxes that contain everything needed to get classrooms up and running. The charity’s signature green boxes – durable and highly portable – are now a familiar and welcome sight in humanitarian emergencies worldwide.
ShelterBox sees shelter as a process, working with local communities and partner agencies to build stronger, resilient and sustainable shelter that can be delivered quickly, but also consolidated over the longer term as a community recovers. It pre-positions aid in locations across the globe, so it is never far from where it may be needed.
ShelterBox has a ‘can do’ culture, calling impatience a virtue. It is also pivotal in effective partnerships with like-minded agencies, and often cuts through red tape to help people others can’t reach, at high altitude or maybe on remote islands. For example, it is one of only a handful of western agencies regularly invited to help rural communities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and last year took education materials into Uganda.
It has provided help and hope following some of the world’s most devastating disasters: Haiti’s earthquake in 2010, Japan’s Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the floods that wreaked havoc in Malawi and Malaysia in 2015, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, and the two massive earthquakes that shook Nepal in 2015.
It has also been there to help rebuild lives during conflict. It has brought shelter to the homeless in Syria and its neighbouring countries since 2012, provided refuge for families fleeing terror in Niger and Cameroon, and respite on the Greek islands for thousands of weary families on the refugee trail.
ShelterBox is funded only by public donations – it receives no EU or UK Government funding – and has a large number of inspirational trained volunteers who take time out of their busy lives to assess and deploy aid around the world. It is also the only official Project Partner of Rotary International, whose 1.2 million members raise funds for ShelterBox and often provide local support on the ground during a disaster.
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is the charity’s President and Royal Patron. The Duchess and the Prince of Wales were first introduced to ShelterBox in 2006. Whilst on an official visit to Pakistan, they learnt about ShelterBox’s work helping families who had lost their homes in the Kashmiri earthquake. In 2015, acknowledging the charity’s work in Nepal, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry selected ShelterBox to share in the proceeds of the Royal Film Performance.