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World Humanitarian Day – Celebrating the supporters that make it all possible

by Tess Widdifield August 19, 2020

hu·man·i·tar·i·an
/(h)yo͞oˌmanəˈterēən/

adjective
concerned with or seeking to promote human welfare.”

Your passion, dedication, and concern for families around the world make YOU a humanitarian worth celebrating this World Humanitarian Day. Your support of ShelterBox Canada gets vital emergency aid into the hands of vulnerable families who need it most. Every donation you make ‘seeks to promote human welfare’ for those impacted by disaster and conflict. Thank you for your continued support, and thank you for ensuring no family is without shelter.

Getting Shelter Where It's Needed Most


At ShelterBox, we go to hard to reach places, often overlooked, to get your aid to the families who really need it. But it’s not as simple as it sounds.

Humanitarian work is complex, difficult, and frustrating at times. It’s also massively amazing and rewarding once aid gets to families and they begin to rebuild. But that is the final step in the long process you make possible. As a humanitarian and donor to ShelterBox, you’re not just putting aid in the hands of affected families, you’re supporting an entire process that gets the right aid to the right people.

Before a disaster even happens, teams are preparing – monitoring storms, carefully pre-positioning aid around the world so it’s close by for easier and faster access. Once disaster happens, the process is complex.

ShelterBox teams need visas, logistics need to be sorted out, and agreements need to be made with governments and other partners. ShelterBox, just like any other organization, needs permission to work in any country. This takes time, patience, and a little bit of support from our friends in-country.

Permission is given, agreements are made, teams are on their way! But the planning and coordination doesn’t stop there. It is vital to coordinate with anyone responding to the disaster. Whether it’s food, medical, or other shelter agencies, everyone involved needs to talk together, and with local authorities. In one response alone, ShelterBox could be meeting with 20 different agencies in big group meetings three to four times a week!

And every country is different. Each will have its own set of rules, its own style of government response, its own set of importation regulations. For each and every disaster this process has to take place. But it happens, every time, because of you. Every time you give, you’re enabling this process to happen, ensuring families are getting the supplies and support they need. Coordination can go very wrong if you’re not listening, if you’re not catching those finer details, if you’re not working together as a group with the same set of information. This is why on the ground planning is so important. This is why your support is so important.

Listening before making a decision is very valuable to ShelterBox teams. We need to be fast, but we need to listen and assess before resources can go anywhere.

As a ShelterBox supporter, this is the humanitarian work that you are making possible. This is the work that you don’t often see, but is truly only possible because of you. Every disaster, every deployment, these are vital steps in the process. Steps that you make happen. Every donation you make, you put your faith and trust in our teams. That they will do the right thing. That they will listen and learn. And that they will always ensure your support is making the biggest impact on human welfare after a disaster or a conflict.

Recently, your support made all of this possible in Vanuatu. In addition to the regular process, teams also had to deal with complications caused by coronavirus. When Cyclone Harold hit the small island country, there were no recorded infections of coronavirus. We wanted to keep it that way, and so did they. This meant borders were closed and ShelterBox teams were not able to physically enter the country. But your support allowed teams to work hard, talking to the government, talking with local Vanuatu based agencies, trying to find the best solution to get your aid to families affected by this disaster.

And thanks to you, that’s exactly what happened! ShelterBox operations staff worked closely with a local organization that could deliver aid for us. We coordinated with them, we learned about the needs of the communities, and we figured out the logistics to safely get aid to the island, to the people that needed it most. Your support, your donations, it’s about much more than a tent or a box, it’s about collaboration to find the best solutions for families. The best possible outcomes. We couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you for your kindness and compassion towards those most vulnerable after a disaster. Thank you for your continued support. And thank you for being a vital part of the humanitarian network around the world.

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