On the UN’s World Refugee Day, June 20, one of the world’s most famous Oscar-winners has given her backing to an international disaster relief charity that has helped hundreds of thousands of displaced people. Dame Judi Dench has generously endorsed the work of ShelterBox, saying that in a world on the run from disaster, ‘ShelterBox brings hope.’

Dame Judi Dench is celebrated from Hollywood to Broadway to the West End. She has followed the work of disaster relief agency ShelterBox for several years. Tomorrow is World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20, when the United Nations commemorates the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees.

ShelterBox is an international charity that provides emergency shelter to families who have lost their homes through conflict and natural disaster. The charity is currently responding to refugee crises in Cameroon, Niger, Chad, the Syrian region and Iraq. A team will also shortly be heading to Uganda, which has the world’s largest refugee camp at Bidi Bidi, home to 800,000 people, many fleeing war in South Sudan.

ShelterBox works hard to understand the need created by differing emergency situations, and has created a flexible range of aid that includes tools, tents and tarpaulins for families to make urgent shelter or repair buildings where there is no other possible provision. The aid can be used to create a temporary base in communities or refugee camps, but it is also light and portable for people moving from one place to the next.

Dame Judi has supported ShelterBox in the past, and donated a signed and framed theatre poster for sale in 2011. Now, with World Refugee day being promoted by the United Nations this week, she has again expressed her support.

Dame Judi Dench says,

When disaster strikes and families are left with nothing, ShelterBox brings hope. Responding to each situation individually, ShelterBox gives tailor made support – a place to live, equipment to cook with and to purify water, mosquito nets in the summer, scarves and blankets in the winter and SchoolBoxes to provide young people with the stability of the classroom.

‘Right now there are 85 million people worldwide on the move, forced to flee their towns and villages by conflict, or natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, flooding and cyclones.  Hardworking volunteers in the ShelterBox warehouse pack the boxes, which are then delivered to some of the most remote and dangerous places on earth by our dedicated ShelterBox Response Teams.’

‘I support ShelterBox and the crucial work they do all over the world helping families who have lost everything. Shelter and togetherness are stepping stones to recovery. If you are able, please give what you can.’

An Oscar winner for the 1998 movie Shakespeare in Love, Dame Judi Dench is the world’s most applauded and awarded actor ever across the six biggest American and British ceremonies, winning eighteen stage and screen awards out of fifty two nominations.


  • ShelterBox can offer expert interviewees on refugee issues, and on displacement across Africa and the Middle East. Please phone 647-352-1930 or email [email protected] for more information.
  • The photos above are free to use in the context of this press release. The banner image and above image show children at a refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan and a family at Minawao Camp in Cameroon – all credit © ShelterBox. The portrait of Dame Judi Dench should be credited © Sarah Dunn www.sarahdunn.com
  • There are now almost 85 million people around the world forced from their homes due to natural disasters or conflict, the greatest number ever before in human history. ShelterBox is a UK charity, and a world authority on providing innovative, rapid and practical shelter to families in some of the world’s hardest-to-reach places and most devastated disaster zones. Since its start in 2000 it’s helped more than one million people worldwide rebuild their lives, and ShelterBox Canada is an affiliate of ShelterBox operations across Europe, Africa, Americas and Asia. Find out how you can get involved at www.shelterboxcanada.org