There’s a great new post on the Rotary Service in Action blog about our latest deployment to Malawi ….
Emergency shelter charity ShelterBox is celebrating signing up for another 3 years as Rotary International’s Project Partner in Disaster Relief. For almost 20 years, this unique humanitarian alliance has supported families with a place to call home after disaster.
ShelterBox provides emergency shelters and other essential items to support families who have lost their homes in disaster. Rotary is a global network whose members take action to make a lasting difference in their communities – and worldwide.
What began as a local connection with one Cornish Rotary Club has led to an international movement that’s has responded to over 280 disasters in 95+ countries.
First adopted as a millennium project by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in 2000, the support of Rotary members and clubs around the world saw ShelterBox become Rotary’s Project Partner in Disaster Relief in 2012. Since then, the partnership has helped transform ShelterBox into an internationally recognised disaster relief charity, supporting families with emergency shelter after disaster.
The partnership extends far beyond financial support. Around 1,000 Rotary members are involved in ShelterBox as volunteers, staff or response team members. And clubs worldwide offer valuable, practical assistance to help ShelterBox reach more families fleeing disaster or conflict.
This has recently included support for families in Malawi flooded from their homes by Cyclone Idai and communities in Lombok devastated by the 2018 earthquake and tsunami (quotes and details at the end of this release).
Caroline White, interim Chief Executive at ShelterBox, said: ‘Whenever disaster strikes, Rotary is beside us. From the earliest planning stages to final evaluations, Rotary members help ShelterBox make community contacts, organise logistics, and reach disaster-affected families in remote areas who might otherwise go without.
‘This partnership has helped ShelterBox become who we are today. Our global network of 17 ShelterBox affiliates, who raise funds and awareness worldwide, evolved from Rotary relationships.’
Speaking about the partnership renewal, General Secretary of Rotary International John Hewko said:
‘ShelterBox has been Rotary’s Project Partner in Disaster Relief since 2012, and we are excited to renew the partnership for another three years.
‘Through this project partnership, Rotary members around the globe can collaborate with ShelterBox to support communities in desperate need of emergency temporary shelter and vital supplies following natural disasters. Additionally, Rotary and ShelterBox will continue to expand cooperation efforts through preparedness training and stockpiles of prepositioned aide in disaster-prone regions.’
Rotary club presidents around the world have also commented:
Ace Robin, President of the Mataram Rotary Club, Indonesia, was caught up in the deadly earthquakes that hit Lombok in 2018. Her home survived, but many around her were destroyed. Through an agreement with the government-led response, Ace’s club was central to bringing ShelterBox aid to Indonesia.
Thanks to their support, vulnerable members of the community received vital emergency shelter, including families with elderly relatives, pregnant women or new mothers.
Ace said: ‘Working with ShelterBox taught us a lot – they showed us how to build shelter and select families to help. It also gave us a chance to show what Rotary is to local people.’
After floods triggered by Cyclone Idai left tens of thousands homeless in Malawi this March, Rotary members connected ShelterBox with communities in the Blantyre region, helping them understand local needs and culture. Members helped deliver emergency shelter to almost 2,000 families. And ShelterBox supported the Rotary Club of Limbe to join the wider disaster response, enabling the club to deliver food to communities whose entire crops had been destroyed by the floods.
Rotary Club of Limbe President Eric Chinkanda said: ‘It was a great experience to work with ShelterBox. We have not only walked a mile in reaching out to the many Malawians who faced hardship, but we restored confidence in the displaced people that all was not lost!’
James Kingston, Club President of the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard, in Cornwall, said: ‘The members of Helston-Lizard Rotary are delighted that Rotary International continues to recognise ShelterBox.
‘I joined the club a few months before the Millennium Project began, and I’m so pleased we’re still involved. It has been wonderful to see the charity grow into an internationally recognised, professional disaster relief organisation.’
Last year ShelterBox Australia received support from 279 Rotary Clubs throughout Australia
Here’s another great blog about Rotary and ShelterBox working together, featuring our very own Katelyn Winkworth ………
By James Bolton, Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland in collaboration with ShelterBox
Organizations such as Rotary and our project partners ShelterBox may have an adult profile, but the momentum is growing among a younger generation to create the next big humanitarian wave. ShelterBox had its origins in the Rotary movement 18 years ago, and now is Rotary’s project partner in disaster relief. Rotary members leave a lasting legacy on the lives of young people, with a number of programs and activities to support them in unlocking their potential. ShelterBox also provides young professionals an opportunity to make a lasting impact on communities.
‘Do it! I would encourage any young person to look further into this.’ That is the rallying cry from Katelyn Winkworth, a young Australian who trained as a ShelterBox Response Team Volunteer to help families caught up in war or natural disaster.
Katelyn shares her experience training to…
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Great story here about ShelterBox and Rotary working in partnership ……..
Local Rotarians in countries affected by disasters often contribute vital support to ShelterBox responses, providing valuable points of contact for Response Teams through first-hand knowledge, introductions, logistical assistance, and vital links into communities.
Throughout August 2018, a series of earthquakes struck the Island of Lombok in Indonesia killing more than 460 people and displacing around 400,000. Rotarian Ace Robin, the current president of The Rotary Club of Mataram in Lombok discussed how her club could help affected families. Through pre-existing contacts in Indonesia, ShelterBox was put in touch with Ace.
Ace’s house was largely undamaged, but many of her friends’ and neighbors’ homes were destroyed. Ace and the Club of Mataram were instrumental in helping bring ShelterBoxes from Jakarta, liaising with heads of local communities to identify the most affected regions and distributing aid to families. Ace reflected that ”working with the ShelterBox Response Team taught us a…
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The trustees of disaster relief charity ShelterBox have appointed James Sinclair Taylor as their new Chair.
Formerly Vice Chair, James succeeded Dr Rob John OBE in December, having served on the trustee board since mid-2014.
Charity law specialist James is a partner at Russell-Cooke Solicitors LLP, where he heads the firm’s charity and social business team. He is responsible for developing the work of the team and supporting a variety of charities, their boards and chief executives.
Among many roles advising the third sector, James works as a consultant on governance mergers and other issues, and is the Chair of a housing association, trustee at several charities, and the Protector of the innovation fund Nesta.
Speaking on his appointment, James said: ‘I was first drawn to support ShelterBox because it has a strikingly clear and effective vision – a world where no family is without shelter.
‘During a visit to Ecuador after the 2016 earthquake, I saw the evolving ShelterBox operations model in action. The earthquake had left many people in a state of profound shock and anxiety about the safety of their homes. I met two women who’d been sleeping on the ground outside their houses for two weeks, in fear of aftershocks. They didn’t dare go back inside. ShelterBox provided tarpaulins and tools, giving them a space to call home while they repaired their heavily damaged houses.
‘Our teams really listen to families to find out what they need – and we offer an adaptable range of shelter and household essentials to meet those needs.
‘I would like to thank Dr Rob John for his years of service to the board, guiding ShelterBox through a phase of significant growth. Under his stewardship in 2018, we provided 210,000 people with shelter and other essentials after their lives were devastated by disaster.
‘I’m excited to take on the role of Chair and contribute to the ongoing professionalisation and growth of our organisation. ShelterBox has wonderful supporters who have continued to give generously in a difficult financial climate. As Rotary International’s project partner in disaster relief, and with ShelterBox affiliates in 17 countries, we have a unique network that helps our response teams to go further, to reach the most vulnerable, overlooked communities.’
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Another great story about our partnership with Rotary International ……
By Rotary Service and Engagement
ShelterBox and Rotary International are Project Partners in Disaster Relief. By working together, we are ensuring that no family is left without shelter after disaster. Not only do Rotary and Rotaract clubs around the world support ShelterBox financially, but on many of ShelterBox’s deployments local Rotarians, Rotaractors and Response Teams work closely together at an operational level. Rotarians often have great connections with communities and authorities that can help response teams understand the situation and respond better together.
Recently, in the Philippines, ShelterBox and Rotary have taken this partnership to the next level. ShelterBox has deployed disaster responses in the Philippines on twenty-five separate occasions. To innovate our responses, ShelterBox Operations Philippines was set-up as an in-country organization with aid stored locally so that we can respond more effectively.
Dave Ray, Horizon’s Lead at ShelterBox said:
“Rotary has been involved in the creation of the…
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ShelterBox and Rotary International are Project Partners in Disaster Relief. By working together, we are ensuring that no family is left without shelter after disaster. Not only do Rotary and Rotaract clubs around the world support ShelterBox financially, but on many of ShelterBox’s deployments local Rotarians, Rotaractors and Response Teams work closely together at an operational level. Rotarians often have great connections with communities and authorities that can help Response Teams understand the situation and respond better together.
Recently, in the Philippines, ShelterBox and Rotary have taken this partnership to the next level. ShelterBox has responded in the Philippines on twenty-five separate occasions. We are always looking for ways to innovate and improve our responses. One way to innovate our responses in the Philippines was to set up ShelterBox Operations Philippines as an in-country organization with aid stored locally so that we can respond more effectively.
Dave Ray, Horizon’s Lead at ShelterBox said: “Rotary has been involved in the creation of the new agency in the Philippines since way before its actual invention. We have worked with Rotary in all of our responses in the past in the Philippines and so it is a very natural thing for us to go to Rotary and to ask for their advice when we were beginning the process.”
ShelterBox Operations Philippines, a locally registered ShelterBox office was set up with a plan to create a network of local Rotarian Coordinators. In this way, when a disaster hits in the Philippines our response can begin almost immediately.
When Tropical Storm Urduja hit the Philippines it caused flash flooding, landslides and destruction. The Rotary Club of Biliran Island started their response shortly after the storm passed providing food, water, and health kits. They were quickly in contact with the Local Coordinators who “coordinated with HQ Operations and the in-country Response team, who then started the ShelterBox Operations Philippines response”.
The Club also began planning for a Village Project, which would give transitional housing to sixty families. Dindin Morillo, Past President of the Rotary Club of Biliran Island said:
“Although we had already identified the next phase of the response for transitional shelter solutions, ShelterBox’s timely arrival provided emergency shelters and rebuilding tools which we recognized as an immediate solution. Without ShelterBox it would have taken time to find interim shelter solutions.”
As families were sleeping in crowded schools and public buildings, without adequate space, privacy or supplies, having immediate emergency shelter was very important. Fifty-seven families were provided with ShelterBox tents as well as blankets, mosquito nets, solar lights, kitchen sets, tool kits, water carriers and more.
A further nine-hundred families received ShelterKits to start rebuilding their homes as well as blankets, solar lights, mosquito nets, and water carriers. The Rotary Club of Biliran Island was instrumental in the distribution of this vital aid, as their local knowledge insured ShelterBox could reach the most remote and most vulnerable families.
Greg Pastor is the President of the Rotary Club of Biliran Island. Of the partnership between ShelterBox and the Rotary Club of Biliran Island, Greg said:
“ShelterBox’s response to Tropical Storm Urduja sets the bar on the level of relief operations and assistance for affected families. The kind of assistance ShelterBox gave to the affected families prepares us to plan and implement the Rotary Village Project as continuing support for these families. Because of honest and genuine service, ShelterBox and Rotary were able to deliver effective and swift assistance to affected families.”
This response was made more effective because ShelterBox Operations Philippines was in place, so aid was already stored in the Philippines, and we were able to start the response immediately. Dindin Morillo said: “ShelterBox extended help that meets the needs of the people. We Rotarians, especially those on Biliran Island have local knowledge of whom to help, including who to talk to in order to bring the help in a timely manner. Thus, rather than being sucked into bureaucratic processes, working together expedited the help and we are very thankful.”
Whilst this alone is a great example of how effective the partnership between ShelterBox and Rotary can be, responding immediately to disasters with high quality emergency shelter aid, on this response, we were able to take the partnership one step further.
The Village Project run by the Rotary Club of Biliran Island involved legally procuring land, construction of sixty transitional shelters, hands on training, and legal ownership documentation for families receiving the homes. Families were provided with technical training through TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) to build their homes. In this way, not only will they have a safe place to live, but they also will have accredited training and a certificate which can help them gain employment in construction.
The Rotary Club of Biliran Island helped secure the land, and provided the funding for the materials. ShelterBox was able to provide the roofing sheets for one of the Rotary Village sites, further strengthening our partnership while helping families recover.
Disaster recovery is a process. When ShelterBox and Rotary work together after disasters, having ShelterBox’s technical expertise, and Rotary’s community connections and knowledge side by side, mean that families are given the best tools and support that they need through each step of the process to recover and rebuild.
ShelterBox is currently busy in the Philippines once again, this time responding to Super Typhoon Mangkhut in Luzon.
ShelterBox is a registered charity independent of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation. ShelterBox and Rotary are project partners in disaster relief.