We deliver the essentials people need to begin rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of a disaster. Every time we respond to a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis, we ensure that the aid we provide is tailored to the needs of the communities we're helping.
The ShelterBox is still the heart of what we do. ShelterBoxes are customizable to meet the specific needs of each disaster. A typical ShelterBox contains a high-tech family tent, blankets, cooking utensils, water purification equipment, solar light, a basic tool kit, mosquito net and a children's activity pack. Essentially, a ShelterBox provides a family with the supplies they need to survive after a disaster. ShelterBoxes can be completely winterized for cold climates.
In the spring of 2015, ShelterBox deployed 224 ShelterBoxes to northern Cameroon and the contents provided shelter and other essential aid to people who have fled neighbouring Nigeria due to conflict. Learn more about the deployment to Cameroon here.
Shelter kits contain heavy tarpaulin as well as tools and hardware so that people can repair their homes or build temporary shelter. Shelter kits allow us to help families who still have part of their homes standing, and do not need a full ShelterBox. Shelter kits can be used to create shelter that may be more culturally appropriate than tents. Being able to provide people with these kits not only allows them to remain close to their homes and communities, but that they also have tools to start rebuilding schools, clinics and other structure. Shelter kits are also more effective in areas where there is not space for tents. Individual items from ShelterBoxes may be provided in conjunction with Shelter kits where needed. By diversifying our aid, we can help more people in desperate need.
In 2014, ShelterBox provided aid to communities in Paraguay that were deluged by floods. Cinecia Valdes received a Shelter kit and made repairs to her home to make it waterproof, and also added an overhang for extra protection from rainy weather. She said: 'I was very satisfied with the shelter kit – it contained the things we needed.' Read more about deployments to Paraguay here.
ShelterBox deploys SchoolBoxes in situations where schools are destroyed, or long term conflict is preventing access to education. SchoolBoxes provide a classroom in a box for up to 50 children. The Boxes are packed with a backpack and supplies for each child, notebooks, chalk and chalkboard paint, a windup radio and more. Having a daily routine and being able to go to school helps give a sense of normalcy to children whose lives have been turned upside down by a disaster or conflict.
In June 2015, only two months after the devesating earthquakes, ShelterBox distributed SchoolBoxes at an orphanage in the Kathmandu Valley. These contained enough supplies for 450 students and allowed students to continue their education while living in the aftermath of the earthquakes.
We are constantly evolving as a charity and continue to develop our range of aid items to reflect the different needs for each disaster. Sometimes we might supplement our aid with special items, such as tent winterisation kits, which include partition walls that help keep heat in, along with insulated sleeping mats that can be stuffed with materials such as straw to create warm mattresses.
During other emergencies, we may send out items, such as tents, blankets or water filtration equipment in bulk. It is essential that we always support the needs of those who have survived disasters and this can vary enormously based on the type and scale of a disaster. We also do this to maximise donors’ money ensuring that we only send what is really needed and appropriate for the situation and culture.