45-year-old Grace used to live in a small village called Mwalija with her husband and four children.

The village is situated in a very low-lying area of Chikwawa next to the Shire, Malawi’s largest river. After Cyclone Idai hit The family was forced to flee when fast-flowing water swamped their home in the middle of the night.

She said when the floods came, she tried to seek refuge at a nearby island.

It was around 3am, we were asleep then we realised the water was coming inside the house. We all ran for our lives to the island, we left everything in the house.


On the island, Grace and her family were joined by almost 400 people who had also escaped the flooding.

They were all completely surrounded by water, so they had to be rescued by boat.

Whilst waiting to be rescued, Grace was carrying her youngest child on her back and another child on her shoulders. Her husband carried the other two children.

They waited there the whole day with no food or water before anyone came to help.

Once they had been rescued, they were moved on to Kasisi camp about two kilometres away from Mwalija.

That night, some people slept in the courtyard of the camp and others – including Grace and her family – stayed with relatives who hosted them.

They stayed with Grace’s relatives for 24 days before receiving ShelterBox aid.


Grace’s family was one of the nearly 2000 families that ShelterBox provided aid to following the flooding after Cyclone Idai.

She received a ShelterKit and other aid items that helped them build the foundation of a new home, which gave them back some privacy and made a real difference to their family life.

As well as having shelter, Grace was also pleased with the other aid items she was given. She explained how the kitchen set now meant she had pots to cook with and warm water to wash the children.

We were very happy to now have our own place to stay.

Your support makes a transformative impact on families like Grace’s around the world.

Shelter is more than just a roof, it empowers families to start the process of getting back on their feet. Thank you for providing families with the tools they need to self-recover after disaster and conflict.