We work with the UN and other agencies around the world to help us get ShelterBoxes to those who need them. Photograph by Mark Pearson.
Our work is only possible because of people around the world who give generously to ShelterBox. There are countless supporters and volunteers who make everything we do possible. It is their commitment to our cause that enables us to provide homes for countless families who survive disasters.
An enthusiastic team of volunteers performs the essential task of packing every ShelterBox that leaves our warehouse in the UK. The strength of our volunteers is beyond measure.
The ShelterBoxes are also delivered to families in need by volunteers; our incredible ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members. To become an SRT member is no easy feat and each individual has to undertake rigorous and intensive training before they are qualified to deliver emergency disaster relief. These ordinary people who do extraordinary things drop everything at a moment’s notice to head into disaster zones. Our worldwide network of SRT members is a key component to our ability to respond immediately to disasters.
We aim to provide emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies to families as soon as possible after a disaster. The ShelterBox Operations Team monitor disasters constantly and are always in a position to respond immediately. Every disaster is different and, as such, so is every ShelterBox deployment. Sometimes we respond to disasters independently, other times it is on requests for assistance from other aid agencies or government authorities. The common thread is ensuring the response is as rapid as possible.
We have a multi-skilled logistics team who constantly work to overcome a range of logistical challenges. We always endeavor to deliver boxes into a disaster zone in the most efficient and effective way possible. This can be by road, sea, air or a mixture of all three. We can pack and dispatch hundreds of ShelterBoxes a day from our Headquarters in Cornwall, UK and can also call upon a stock of prepositioned ShelterBoxes that are stored in strategic locations across the globe. We are constantly trying to increase the number of boxes we have in prepositioned locations so we can instantly respond on a large scale anywhere in the world.
Once the aid arrives in-country SRTs face the task of delivering it to the families in most need. We often work in remote regions and transporting boxes to these areas is full of obstacles. In these inaccessible areas there is usually a desperate need but it can often be overlooked. However, we use all the means available to them to get the job done. After the Indonesian tsunami in 2010, boxes were transported across the Mentawai Strait on a surf-charter boat before being distributed by smaller boats to some of the most remote islands in the world. Boxes have been delivered by helicopters, tuk tuks, donkey trains and even on the backs of camels.
SRT volunteers will use every available resource to gather information about those most affected by disaster so emergency aid can be channeled according to the greatest need. We aim to prioritise the most vulnerable and deliver aid to them first; typically this would include families with small children or pregnant women, orphans, the elderly or those made vulnerable by illness or infirmity. In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake there was an enormous number of injured. We worked with the French Red Cross and local hospitals to provide a safe environment for surgeons to operate, for midwives to deliver babies and to provide a post-operative area for patients to recover away from the debris, dust and harsh conditions. One doctor told us that he and his team were treating up to six hundred patients a day in our tents, dealing with amputations, infected wounds, and children in conditions of extreme dehydration.
We are committed to measuring and evaluating the impact of our aid to facilitate further research and development into ways we can improve the quality and effectiveness of our aid. In order to improve our work, it is vital that we listen to the needs of the people that we are helping. When it is suitable, we will send teams on post-deployment monitoring missions to assess how effective the ShelterBoxes are and to work with the recipients of the aid to find out ways we can improve our equipment and service.
ShelterBox prides itself on getting aid direct to the people who need it most – and one of the ways we achieve that is through our ShelterBox Response Teams or SRTs.
Members of our SRTs are all volunteers and come from all walks of life.
Learn more and how to apply…