Here’s a great post By Rotary Service Connections, featuring our very own Katelyn Winkworth …..
Rotary and ShelterBox collaborate to provide emergency shelter and vital supplies to stabilize, protect, and support communities affected by disasters and other humanitarian crises. The ShelterBox Response Team trains under intense conditions to be prepared when it’s needed most.
In one example, two Rotarians and a Rotaractor faced one last challenge after a grueling year of preparation before they could join the elite ShelterBox Response Team.
There are many ways for Rotarians and Rotaractors to partner with ShelterBox. Gain inspiration from fellow members and contact ShelterBox to get involved.
Rotary and ShelterBox are project partners for immediate disaster relief around the world; ShelterBox is a registered charity, independent of Rotary and The Rotary Foundation.
‘Do it!’ – Young people call other young people to join them in humanitarian volunteering with Rotary and ShelterBox
Does charity work appeal to young people? Organisations such as Rotary and ShelterBox may have an adult profile, but the momentum is growing among a younger generation to generate the next big humanitarian wave. Meet four people who enthuse about a youthful future for volunteering.
‘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 has recently qualified as a ShelterBox response volunteer, and keenly awaits her first deployment to help families caught up in war or natural disaster.
Aged 23 when she attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards in 2014, Katelyn subsequently set up a Rotaract club in Brisbane with colleagues. Rotaract – literally Rotary in Action – had its roots in American universities and local communities, beginning in North Carolina in 1968. Now it has over 11,000 clubs worldwide and 253,000 members. For young men and women aged 18 to 30, it is badged as ‘a global effort to bring peace and international understanding to the world.’
Katelyn’s enthusiasm for humanitarian work began with Rotary. ‘My Rotaract Club volunteered to help at a fundraiser for ShelterBox. When I learnt about the work that Rotary and ShelterBox were doing together, I immediately wanted to become further involved. A Rotary mentor passed on the details of an Australian Shelterbox contact, and my journey began.’
‘Humanitarian work can be very specialised and it can feel hard to get involved, but these organisations are well established, with support all around the world. ShelterBox can go into nearly any country, and be assured that there are Rotarians there who will provide invaluable support for their humanitarian work. Both organisations are supportive and provide incredible training opportunities.’
Does Katelyn feel that enough is done to attract young people to the cause? ‘Bridging the gap between older members and younger members is important! It can be a good idea to support any young person that wishes to come along to Rotary, perhaps dedicating a Rotarian to make a special effort to welcome newcomers.’
Katelyn adds that young people may assume they have to be a lot more experienced or progressed in their career before joining the ShelterBox team or volunteering. But, in fact, a quarter of ShelterBox staff are aged under 30, and two thirds under 40. She thinks visibility is key. ‘For both ShelterBox and Rotary more advertising and promotion is required, as people won’t get involved in things they simply don’t know about! Getting the word out is important.’
‘It’s so important to engage young people’
ShelterBox had its origins in the Rotary movement eighteen years ago, and now is Rotary’s global project partner in Disaster Relief. Rotary clubs have plenty of outreach programmes which support young people. The Rotary Club of Truro Satellite often meets at ShelterBox HQ, and it has had particular success in taking school computer equipment and furniture to the Romanian city of Targoviste.
Cathie Shipwright, Secretary of the Rotary Evolution Club of Truro, says, ‘From a Rotary perspective it has been a hard sell to engage young people in getting involved with a longstanding international service organisation. With the support of Rotary International, we are able to offer a different approach to Rotary membership – with a monthly Saturday morning meeting over coffee and cake. We then get involved with other charities in supporting them with events such as collecting, marshalling etc.’
Rotary clubs have been active in the international eradication of polio, and on the creative side hold art and photography competitions at local schools.
‘I believe in this modern world of technology, instant communication and social media that young people are much more aware of issues locally and internationally, and we have to find ways that allow them to get involved and engaged in an innovative and interesting way. Life for young people is very busy and they find it difficult to commit regularly, but anything that allows them to dip in and out is useful.’
‘With regard to ShelterBox – this is a great example of how Rotary can make things happen. It has become a worldwide phenomenon. The nature of its work I believe appeals to younger people and the chance to work and volunteer with the organisation is a great opportunity.’
‘Both organisations give me an opportunity to help society and people in need, which gives me immense satisfaction.’
Ashish Chaulagain lives and works in Kathmandu, Nepal, and first became aware of ShelterBox in 2007 at the age of 19. He explains, ‘My home club the Rotaract Club of Kathmandu had helped a ShelterBox deployment in the far western region of Nepal to support families affected by flooding. Later in 2008, when there was another flood in the country, I contacted ShelterBox HQ asking for help. ShelterBox sent a response team of four with 624 ShelterBoxes to the flood affected victims.’
Ashish was also first to notify ShelterBox in 2015 when a massive earthquake struck Nepal. Now a Head of Department at Thames International College in Kathmandu, he has also been a team leader on Rotary’s literacy mission in Nepal, and presented a paper entitled the ‘Call of Youth’ at the World Forum Conference in 2014.
Asish’s connections with ShelterBox continue today, and he is one of the most enthusiastic advocates of attracting young people to humanitarian ethics. He says, ‘ShelterBox is an amazing organisation to work with. I know of only a few organisations that push themselves beyond their boundaries to help people in need, and ShelterBox is one such organisation.’
‘I give most of my free time to Rotary and ShelterBox. Both organisations give me an opportunity to help society and people in need, which in fact gives me immense satisfaction. I have made my family and employers clear on my passion for community service, so it’s easy for me to get time from them and from my other appointments. They are also proud of my involvement.’
Ashish feels he brings the particular skills of communication, cross-cultural adaptability, negotiation, and above all, friendliness. Looking to the future for both Rotary and ShelterBox he sees, ‘More opportunity to involve more youngsters, with the right communication and training and development for them.’
Yannis Commino, from Newcastle in Australia, is one of ten Interns that ShelterBox has offered training to in the last year. He says, ‘I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. During my New Generations Service Exchange at the headquarters of ShelterBox International in Truro, Cornwall, I gained priceless insight and first-hand experience in disaster relief management.’
‘As I walked through the doors of ShelterBox headquarters, I was greeted by a youthful, vibrant, and enthusiastic team. I was impressed by their morning meetings, as they sit in front of four large television screens analysing the current deployments and tracking global news of the day.’
‘I truly believe this was the beginning of a lifetime of experiences.’
New Generations Service Exchange is a Rotary short-term programme for young university students or young professionals up to age 30, who are interested in humanitarian work. More details .
All these young people, and thousands more like them, are discovering that working or volunteering in the humanitarian sector is exciting and fulfilling. As Yannis says, ‘This kind of work will enable me to merge my two passions: helping others and exploring new destinations and cultures.’
ShelterBox and Rotary are project partners for international disaster response. A registered charity, ShelterBox is independent of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.
To find out about volunteering with ShelterBox Australia, please visit:
‘Access to affected communities is challenging’ – ShelterBox team in Kenya to assess shelter needs after major flooding and a burst dam
Flooding in Kenya has so far claimed 170 lives. Last week a dam in the Rift Valley burst unleashing reservoir waters that careered into two villages killing more than 50 people. ShelterBox is now in Kenya to see if it can help, as an estimated 300,000 people have now been forced from their homes.
Across Kenya heavy rain and landslides have caused over a quarter of a million people to leave their homes. Some in remote communities needed rescuing by helicopter.
A dam burst on a commercial flower farm in Kenya’s Rift Valley has killed more than 50 people in two villages, half of them children. The reservoir, situated on top of a hill 120 miles from Nairobi, gave way a week ago today as nearby residents were sitting down to their evening meals. The deluge swept away powerlines, homes and buildings, including a primary school. The search through mud for bodies is still continuing.
International disaster relief agency ShelterBox is expert in providing emergency shelter for displaced communities, and can supply essential items such as solar lighting where power is down, tools and tarpaulins for rebuilding, and water filtration where there are fears of water-borne disease.
ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Rachel Harvey is currently in Nairobi, and says, ‘The rains this year have been heavy and protracted. The cumulative impact on roads and other infrastructure has been severe which makes access to affected communities challenging. Even when the flood waters recede the damage will take time to repair.’
Two ShelterBox response volunteers flew out to Kenya yesterday to talk to government agencies and the aid community to see whether there is a role for ShelterBox in this ongoing disaster response. Operations Coordinator Jo Arponen says, ‘Initially it seemed the local authorities and the Kenyan Red Cross had enough resources to manage the flooding situation. But now we are hearing that stocks of high quality shelter materials are running low. So our team will be working out what is needed where and how long it might take to get ShelterBox aid into the country. We need to make sure that any aid we send is appropriate and timely.’
ShelterBox has responded in Kenya several times over the years, including in 2010 to flooding in the Turkana region, to widespread drought in 2011/12 when 7,000 tents were supplied, and to help families fleeing conflict in neighbouring countries in 2006 and post-election violence in 2008.
The ShelterBox/Rotary partnership in practice ……..
By Alex Youlten, ShelterBox staff
Tropical Storm Urduja made landfall over San Policarpio in the Eastern Samar province of the Philippines during December 2017, dumping the equivalent of two months of rain in just 48 hours. Mudslides and flooding caused considerable damage in the hardest hit areas, with the Government reporting more than 30,000 homes destroyed.
The newly established ShelterBox Operations Philippines, created by working closely with local Rotary clubs, swiftly delivered emergency shelter and other essential aid items to communities impacted by Tropical Storm Urduja. Through the Rotary-ShelterBox project partnership for disaster relief, volunteers from both organizations have formed strong collaborations with many Rotarians around the world volunteering with and supporting ShelterBox’s relief efforts.
With the support of local Rotary clubs, the ShelterBox response team focused on coastal communities in Biliran Island where pockets of unmet need were identified. ShelterKits (tarpaulins, tools and fixings), tents, blankets, solar lights…
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Here’s a great little story that involves the The Rotary Club of Morisset , NSW and the Rotary Club of Truro, Cornwall via ShelterBox Australia and ShelterBox HQ ……..
Yannis Comino with ShelterBox aid supplies.
By Yannis Comino
Over my summer break at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, I decided to trade in the warmer weather of Australia for an English winter. Why, you might ask, would I do such a thing? Well, the only way I can explain it is — I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. During my New Generations Service Exchange at the headquarters of ShelterBox International in Truro, Cornwall, I gained priceless insight and first-hand experience in disaster relief management.
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