Laen’s ShelterBox bike ride raises over $1,000!

 

Laen with sponsor, Mike Latimer from Transition Cycles in Ballina, NSW

Laen with sponsor, Mike Latimer from Transition Cycles in Ballina, NSW

When 12-year old Laen Wilkin learned about the work of ShelterBox during a presentation at his local school, the Alstonville Primary student decided that he wanted to do something to help those affected by disaster and humanitarian crisis.

With the help of his mum Nell, he was soon planning a bike ride from nearby Ballina to Byron, towing one of the charity’s iconic green ShelterBoxes. In addition to raising money on his personalised fundraising page, Laen planned to stop off along the way a deliver presentations on ShelterBox to other primary schools along the way. The ride was to take place over three days, with Laen camping out at night, sleeping in a ShelterBox disaster relief tent and utilising the contents of a box to fetch water, cook and keep warm.

Come 1st August, Laen was all set and headed off from Transition Cycles in Ballina to speak to the children at Ballina Public School before riding to his first camp site at Flat Rock Tent Park.

Laen at Flat Rock Tent Park

Over the next day, Laen rode to Lennox Head, where he spoke at the local public school and received a boost to his fundraising when the staff at the Kiosk café and the Lennox Gelato & Coffee Co donated their tip jars! Then it was on the Byron Bay for another presentation at Byron Public School, before culminating his ride at Cape Byron’s iconic Lighthouse.

 

Lean at the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse, at the completion of his ride

Laen said, ‘I created and completed my fundraiser because I thought it was the right thing to do’.

Laen received great support from his family along the way, his mum, Nell said, the experience ‘strengthened Laen’s independence, awareness and communication in how to practically create change for the better for all people in times of need. Determination, self-belief and compassion to support others are qualities I’ve been lucky to see Laen express during his ShelterBox journey

I think we can all admire the efforts of this impressive young man, determined to make a difference. Well done Laen!

Start your own fundraiser here: Fundraise For Disaster Relief

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Laen would like to thank the following for their support: Transition Cycles (Ballina), Just Ride Cycles (Lismore), Northern Rivers Family Garden, Flat Rock Tent Park, The Kiosk (Lennox Head), Lennox Gelato & Coffee Co, North Coast Holiday Park (Lennox Head), Byron Holiday Park, Ballina Advocate, Northern Star

ShelterBox and Rotarians serve devastated communities around the world

Here’s a great article on just how much the partnership between ShelterBox and Rotary International can achieve……..

Rotary Service Connections

By Alex Youlten, Rotary Partnership Manager for ShelterBox, and Ellina Kushnir, Supervisor of Service and Engagement for Rotary International

As the 2017 Rotary year came to a close last month, Rotary and ShelterBox reflected on our most recent collaborations to save lives and help families and communities devastated by conflict and natural disasters.

Over the past year, Rotary groups around the world have raised the equivalent of US $2,846,956 to help families who have lost everything following disaster.  The funds enabled deployments to disasters in 12 countries (Afghanistan, Cameroon, Columbia, Ecuador, Fiji, Haiti, Iraq, Mozambique, Niger, Paraguay, Sri Lanka and Syria) and relief efforts included responding to floods, political conflict, landslides, earthquakes, hurricanes and cyclones to help more than 20,150 families.

Natural disasters

Responding to flash floods and mudslides in Peru, ShelterBox worked closely with Rotarians and Rotaractors to conduct an assessment of affected communities in April 2017. As…

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HRH The Duchess of Cornwall takes a saw to a ShelterBox!

It’s only a very important person that would be allowed to deliberately damage a ShelterBox. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall took a saw to an edible ShelterBox to celebrate her 70th birthday, and to mark the opening of a brand new Disaster Relief Visitor Centre in Truro, Cornwall.

Photograph by Emily Whitfield-Wicks
HRH opening the new ShelterBox visitor centre in Truro, Cornwall.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is President of international disaster relief agency ShelterBox, based in Truro. On 19 July she officially opened ShelterBox’s new headquarters, and its new public exhibition, the ShelterBox Disaster Relief Visitor Centre.

As part of the celebrations staff and volunteers gathered to sing happy birthday, and to present her with a cake in the shape of a green ShelterBox and contents including a teddy, a solar light, and tools that help families repair or replace homes damaged after disaster.

Photograph by Emily Whitfield-Wicks
HRH with ShelterBox CEO, Chris Warham exit an AMG Relief Tent

The Duchess laughed as she sawed into the cake, which was baked and sculpted by Ali Marsh from Alibachs Cornish Cakes. The cake was then shared by the invited guests, including the charity’s volunteers and fundraisers.

HRH also surprised everyone by making an impromptu and unscripted speech before departing. She said, ‘That’s the first time I’ve cut a cake with a saw! But it doesn’t surprise me. ShelterBox are always coming up with something new. I just wanted to say how wonderful all of you are who work for ShelterBox.’

Photograph by Emily Whitfield-Wicks
ShelterBox CEO, Chris Warham explains how ShelterKits can be used to build emergency shelters.

 

The Visitor Centre is open from Monday to Saturday and any ShelterBox supporters visiting Cornwall are encouraged to pop in and say hello!

To find out more about ShelterBox or make a donation please visit; www.shelterboxaustralia.org.au

As Mosul is retaken, ShelterBox stands by to help families that survived the epic battle.

Mosul1As nine months of bloody battle end in the routing of Islamic State resistance, aid agencies, including ShelterBox are standing by ready to support families who were trapped in a destroyed city

The long wait is over. Military reports indicate that the final enclaves of IS resistance in Mosul are now in retreat, signalling the end of the largest and longest urban battle anywhere on the earth since World War 2.

It is three years almost to the day that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a Caliphate in the Iraqi city of Mosul, and since last October the UN estimates that 855,000 people have fled the city.

Emergency shelter experts, ShelterBox and its partner aid agencies, most based in the city of Erbil 50 miles from Mosul, have faced huge challenges in responding to one of the world’s most unpredictable sieges – not knowing when people would flee, in what numbers, and in which direction. Displacement camps in the area have long been over capacity, so ShelterBox has tailored much of its aid to be highly portable, meeting the needs of families on the move in this hostile environment.

There are reports that as many as 100,000 people remain in Mosul, no longer held under IS control as human shields, but undoubtedly traumatised from years of warfare, starvation, and living without power, healthcare or fresh water. Those civilians who managed to escape have been rescued, hungry and severely shell-shocked. How many remain huddling in bombed-out buildings in daytime temperatures of 50° daytime is unknown.

Near Mosul, ShelterBox has worked with partners ACTED to:

  • Support 8,000 households / 40,000 individuals since the start of the offensive in October 2016 (5,682 households have been sheltered, additional households received individual items).
  • We have around 3,000 kits standing by now to be distributed when needed.
  • Our aid offer is adjusted with the changing seasons. Iraq is subject to extremes of temperature, over 50° c in summer, and below freezing in winter.

 

A ShelterBox team is in Erbil now making plans to respond to whatever displacement is triggered by the military endgame. Operations Coordinator Sam Hewett says, Although we have prepared for this stage over many months, it is still unpredictable in size and scale. We don’t yet know exactly how many tens of thousands remain in Mosul, what their needs are, and whether they can be met by staying in Mosul. The Old City has suffered extensive damage, with little power or water infrastructure surviving. While relative peace is to be welcomed, we are also concerned about underlying tensions in the region and what they mean for longer-term stability.

ShelterBox and its partners will have to act quickly but cautiously in responding to this latest phase in a very long story.’  

Mosul6

Meanwhile ShelterBox continues its five-year intervention in Syria, where the city of Raqqa is the focus of a final military offensive. ShelterBox is not able to act here directly with teams on the ground because of the volatile and dangerous security environment, working instead through implementing partners such as Hand in Hand for Syria and ReliefAid. Other partners cannot be named for security reasons.

SyrChem1

ShelterBox has been responding to this conflict since 2012, providing shelter and lifesaving items to households in neighbouring countries Jordan (2012, 2013), Iraq (2013-2017) and Lebanon (2012, 2013) and to families transiting through the Greek islands (2015). In Syria itself a total of 24,404 households have been supported. Now ShelterBox is gearing up for its biggest ever single aid push into Syria. Details of locations and routes cannot be given because ShelterBox must do all it can to protect its people and its partners.

In 2016 across Iraq and Syria ShelterBox aid reached an estimated 230,000 people.

You can help those displaced b y conflict by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

Tomorrow, 20th June is World Refugee Day – Dame Judi Dench endorses ShelterBox

Portrait of Dame Judi Dench

Dame Judi Dench. Image © Sarah Dunn http://www.sarahdunn.com

I support ShelterBox and the crucial work they do. Shelter and togetherness are stepping-stones to recovery.’ Dame Judi Dench on World Refugee Day

On the UN’s World Refugee Day (20th June) one of the world’s most famous Oscar-winners has given her backing to an agency 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.’

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mother and son at a refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan © ShelterBox

Dame Judi Dench is celebrated from Hollywood to Broadway to the West End. She has followed the work of international disaster relief agency ShelterBox for several years. Tomorrow is World Refugee Day, held every year on 20 June, 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, Syria 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 next week, she has again expressed her support.

Dame Judi 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.’

Happy Syrian children in their ShelterBox tent, El Minie, Lebanon ©MIkeGreenslade/ShelterBox

Happy Syrian children in their ShelterBox tent, El Minie, Lebanon ©MikeGreenslade/ShelterBox

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 via www.shelterboxaustralia.org.au  ‘‘

All donations above $2 are tax-deductible, please give generously.

 

ShelterBox sends team to Sri Lanka after worst monsoon flooding and mudslides since 2003 

 

Half a million people affected, around 85,000 made homeless. Disaster relief shelter experts, ShelterBox respond to Sri Lankan Government’s call for aid

International disaster relief charity, ShelterBox is sending a team to Sri Lanka today (1st June, 2017) to assess the need for the charity’s specialist aid – including sturdy weatherproof tents, emergency lighting, mosquito nets, and water filtration and carriers.

The team will be re-establishing partnerships with the Sri Lankan Government, colleague charities and local Rotary Clubs in response to the Sri Lankan government’s appeal to the United Nations for help with rescue and relief. The shelter experts responded to monsoon flooding and mudslides in Sri Lanka at this time last year, meaning they have developed the best possible experience in how to deal with flooding on the island and will be working with partners and the Sri Lanka government to share their expertise.

Sri Lankan residents walk through floodwaters in Kaduwela, Colombo. © Lakruwan Wanniarachchi: AFP

ShelterBox Operations Team Lead, James Luxton said, ‘This is déjà vu on a horrifying scale. I was with our team last year and I’m flying tomorrow again to meet up with our in-country contacts to carry out urgent assessments to help local families and communities.’

‘Last year’s response has given us solid experience of how best to level and drain sites so tents can be safely pitched. But the conditions are bad, monsoon rains are still falling, and many rivers are still overflowing. We know from monitoring our aid provision last year what will work best, and we’ll be offering that expertise to the Sri Lanka authorities, with whom we already have a good working relationship.’

In this latest monsoon tragedy the island’s emergency services are currently dealing with the rescue phase, and many people are housed in temporary shelters away from the flood zones. Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC) warns that the death toll may rise as reports come in from outlying areas. But when the floodwaters recede there could be a need for temporary shelter of the kind provided by ShelterBox.

SRT volunteer, Derek Locke (USA) instructs Sri Lanakan soldiers on erecting a ShelterBox tent

SRT volunteer, Derek Locke (USA) instructs Sri Lanakan soldiers on erecting a ShelterBox tent during our deployment in 2016

 

Sri Lanka is particularly vulnerable to this ‘moving earth’ mudslide phenomenon, having cleared land over decades to grow export crops such as tea and rubber. When the rains fall this deforested landscape can quickly become a torrent of mud with collapsing hillsides.

In 2016, ShelterBox provided tents and other aid to hundreds of families across six different camps. The work was complex because land had to be levelled and drained before it could be used safely for pitches, ensuring occupants wouldn’t be at risk from further storms and flooding. ShelterBox teams worked in partnership with the Rotary Club of Capital City in Colombo, who provided invaluable in-country local knowledge from a network of Rotarians across the island, and with the International Organisation for Migration and World Vision.

You can help by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

ShelterKits distributed in Mozambique – Australian volunteer assists in assessment and training

Image of shelterkits being loaded in a warehouse in Mozambique

After Cyclone Dineo – ShelterBox is in Africa helping to re-home thousands after Mozambique’s storm damage and flooding

Cyclone Dineo struck the southern African country of Mozambique on 15 February. Its torrential rain and damaging winds destroyed 20,000 homes and affected 130,000 people.International disaster relief agency ShelterBox has been working with the Red Cross to help communities rebuild.

image of a collapsed dwelling

The cyclone caused extensive damage over a widespread area

The South West Indian Ocean brews up a cyclone season every year, and in recent months there have been five tropical storms, with three intensifying into cyclones. Our photos show clear evidence of the destructive power of Dineo, and how ShelterBox and Red Cross response teams are taking aid to hard-hit areas such as Massinga and Morrumbene.

Dineo was the first tropical cyclone to hit the coast of Mozambique since 2008. 200 mm of rain fell in the province of Inhambane, at least seven people were killed, including a child crushed by a falling tree in Massinga. After the storm abated an estimated 130,000 people were in need of assistance.

South Australian Response team member, Megan Graham

Australian ShelterBox Response Team volunteer, Megan Graham was part of the second team in country, helping to assess needs and arrange customs clearance. Megan said,

The first team had performed a needs assessment in the area and determined that ShelterBox aid in the form of Shelter Kits was appropriate.  1,000 Shelter Kits and 2,000 mosquito nets were already identified to be sent to Mozambique.  My month in Mozambique was split between the capital, Maputo and Inhambane city.  The affected area was vast and the vulnerable families very spread out, we spent some time with our partners Red Cross to visit some of the potential beneficiaries and see the damage caused by Cyclone Dineo.  To identify the vulnerable families to receive the 1,000 Shelter Kits we needed to utilise the services of the local Red Cross Volunteers, we spent some days training them on the necessary data collection to ensure the most vulnerable were to receive the aid.  Whilst I was in the Inhambane area with a team working on the beneficiary collection a separate team was based in Maputo working on expediting Tax Exemption so that the aid could be flown in to the country.”

ShelterKits distribution in the filed

ShelterKits and other essential items were distributed with the help of the Red Cross

The aid that fitted the needs of the population best was ShelterKits containing materials to rebuild or repair basic dwellings. Women are seen carrying the kits on their heads, often with infants in arms and toddlers at their feet.

Response team member, Steven Tonkinson (USA) says,‘The people we have been distributing to are clearly among the most vulnerable in their communities. We have seen elderly men and women, people with severe physical disabilities, mothers with infants and orphaned children. It’s reassuring to know that our aid is going to those who need it most.’ 

Demonstrations of how to use the kit contents – tarpaulins, tools and fixings – were given to households. After consulting the local community, ShelterBox also included machetes, a widely used tool in Mozambique, and mosquito nets to avoid the scourge of malaria. The Machetes were transported safely to Mozambique in our familiar green boxes.

This careful selection of aid will mean people can rebuild their lives and livelihoods, and protect themselves from the weather.

You can help families affected by disasters by donating here: PLEASE DONATE