It’s been a busy 2014 for everyone connected with ShelterBox. This past year we have sent aid to 25 different disasters and throughout this holiday season we will be looking back at how these responses have made a difference to families in need as a direct result of the support of our donors.
One disaster, which we have continued to respond to throughout the year, is the ongoing conflict throughout Syria, Lebanon, the Kurdistan region of Iraq and Jordan.
In the three years since the conflict first broke out in Syria, more than 9 million people have been forced from their homes in the war-torn country, after being exposed to violence and unremitting fighting. The majority now remain within the borders with no home to go to and no possessions. More than 3.2 million refugees still seek safety and shelter across neighbouring countries.
The vast majority of fleeing families arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs. Many are injured from continuous bombing and shelling. They have no regular food and no income. Men, women and children are suffering through no fault of their own. They are in desperate need of shelter and other vital supplies.
ShelterBox has to date sent aid to support more than 5,000 families in Syria, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan in some truly challenging situations. Throughout 2014 our aid efforts have continued in earnest, working with partner organisations to continually preserve to deliver vital aid to where it is needed the most.
One of the aspects of life that has been most greatly affected is education. Children whose families are on the run from conflict in Syria have been described as a generation lost to education. However ShelterBox is helping to bring refugee children back into the classroom.
Working with long-term partner charity ‘Hand in Hand for Syria’, ShelterBox has been sending truckloads of aid deep into Syria, containing tents, shelter repair kits, mosquito nets, water filters and carriers, blankets, groundsheets, solar lamps and most importantly for some, ShelterBox SchoolBoxes. As the above video shows, our SchoolBoxes contain essential supplies for teachers, including wind-up radios that also charge mobile phones, and school equipment for 50 children. They also include blackboard paint and a brush – these two items alone can transform any flat surface into a focus for learning. School packs, in bright yellow material bags, also contain stationery, pens and calculators along with drawing and maths equipment.
ShelterBox continues to work to assist families in need in the region. As another winter closes in on those who have lost their homes, thanks to the support of our donors, we strive to help bring families in from the cold.