ShelterBox was founded to provide emergency shelter and vital supplies to support communities around the world overwhelmed by disaster and humanitarian crisis.
Before ShelterBox, aid response was focused on food and medicine, with little or no assistance in terms of proper shelter to help survivors through the days, weeks, and months ahead as they began to rebuild their lives. ShelterBox was launched to fill that void.
In April 2000, the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in Cornwall, England adopted ShelterBox as its millennium project. Little did they know that it would become the largest Rotary club project in the world, with affiliates in countries around the globe.
2001 - 2004
The first consignment of 143 boxes was sent to earthquake victims in the Indian state of Gujarat in January 2001. Over the next three years, the project matured, and by the end of 2004, nearly 2,600 boxes had been dispatched, following 16 major disasters.
On December 26, 2004, news came of the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami and ShelterBox faced its most significant challenge yet. Donations poured in and ShelterBox was able scale operations to a level that would have been unthinkable just six months earlier.
In 2005, ShelterBox sent out more than 22,000 boxes, almost 10 times the number delivered in the previous three years. Not only did ShelterBox send aid to survivors of the tsunami, but also helped those who had lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina in the USA and the massive earthquake that hit the Kashmir region of Pakistan. ShelterBox had emerged as a major player in the field of international disaster relief.
In 2010, ShelterBox’s Canadian affiliate was officially established as a registered Canadian charity.
The Haiti earthquake in 2010 resulted in the largest and longest deployment ShelterBox has ever undertaken, providing 1/3 of all tented shelter for Haitians affected by the earthquake.
In 2013 ShelterBox Responded to 34 disasters in 18 countries, helping over 10,000 families! One of these disasters was Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. This Typhoon was the largest to ever make landfall. ShelterBox has sent over 6400 boxes and 100 Response Team members, more than any other deployment.
We have now worked on every continent, responding to earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, typhoons, hurricanes, volcanoes and conflict. We have continued to build on our experiences, helping as many people as we can, as quickly as we can, when disaster strikes. Since inception ShelterBox has responded to over 270 disasters in more than 95 countries, helping well over 1 million people.
ShelterBox has been recognized as a leader in the humanitarian shelter sector.