Approximately 25,000 Rotarians and Rotary supporters from all over the world gathered in Lisbon, Portugal on 23-26 June 2013 for the 104th Rotary International (RI) Annual Convention.
ShelterBox was present at the House of Friendship, an integral part of the Convention and a space to share ideas and to learn about opportunities of service for Rotarians. Volunteers and staff members from ShelterBox and six of its affiliates spoke to visitors about the charity’s disaster relief work worldwide as well as chances for Rotarians to get involved.
ShelterBox’s Chief Executive Alison Wallace met with RI’s incoming President Ron D. Burton during the Convention and discussed the joint work between the two organisations. He expressed his admiration and support for ShelterBox’s work.
Alison also met with RI’s Secretary-General John Hewko and said:
‘The Rotary Convention is very important for us as we have the opportunity to meet a great range of people and share the latest information about our work with very motivated supporters.’
Thousands of Rotarians came to have a look at the ShelterBox equipment and share their fundraising stories along with details of where their ShelterBoxes had been sent. Members of the Interact Club of Sintra, a town 30km west of Lisbon, were amongst those who visited the stand. The Club has just been formed and these Interactors very first project is to fundraise for a ShelterBox.
Richard Horrell, a Rotarian from West Scotland, was one of the volunteers who helped ShelterBox raise awareness about its work at the Convention.
‘I was pleased to have been able to help at the ShelterBox stand and to share the story of disaster relief with many Rotarians,’ commented Richard. ‘It will also help me in my District role of spreading the ShelterBox message.’
Rotarians play integral role
A particular highlight for all of the staff and volunteers was to meet so many Rotarians who played an integral role in delivering ShelterBox aid following disasters. From Haiti to the Philippines and Lebanon to the Russian Federation, these individuals weave together every step of the work ShelterBox does: from the Rotary clubs who raise funds, the Rotarians who help pack boxes and those who assist with logistics and advice following a disaster helping ShelterBox bring aid to the families who so desperately need it.
In 2012, RI and ShelterBox signed RI’s first ever project partner agreement formalising the 12-year relationship between the two organisations.