ShelterBox and Rotary celebrate the power of partnership

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.

Working with Rotary in the Philippines

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.

ShelterBox and Rotary in the Philippines

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.’

At the Rotary International Convention, Toronto 2017

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.’

Lombok 2018

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!

ShelterBoxes collected by beneficiaries. The delivery lorry can be seen in the back ground.

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

World Rotary Day 2018 – Thank You Rotary!

Rotary was integral to our response to hurricanes in the Caribbean in 2017

ShelterBox began life as a Rotary Club project back in 2000. Since its humble beginnings, with the help of Rotary International and Rotarians around the world, it has grown to become a world leader in emergency shelter provision . In 2011, ShelterBox was granted Project Partnership status by Rotary International, cementing the special relationship between the two organsiations.

ShelterBox Australia’s CEO, Mike Greenslade, a Rotarian from the Alstonville club in Northern NSW, said,

I’ve been involved as ShelterBox Response Team member since 2006 and have deployed 22 times with ShelterBox. On nearly all of those deployments, Rotary have been essential partners on the ground, providing useful local knowledge, accommodation, transport, translators, warehousing and personnel. Moreover, Rotarians always offer us warm hospitality wherever we go. In fact, the first Rotary club meeting I attended was in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, on my first deployment; we shared a meal and great camaraderie and talked about customs clearance and transport options. Nothing would have happened in PNG without Rotary.’

Help from the Rotary Club of Rabaul was essential in PNG in 2006

‘The support we get from Rotary Clubs in Australia is no less important. Most of our volunteers are Rotarians and clubs give a significant amount of our funding. Today is a day to say ‘thank you Rotary!’ There are over 1.2 million disaster-affected families that are better off because of you!”

Thanks to all our Rotary Ambassadors and volunteers!

Rotary And ShelterBox Renew Partnership To Aid Disaster Survivors Worldwide

Greg in Vanuatu

Last year, Rotarian and Australian SRT member, Greg Moran (far right) became the first serving District Governor to deploy with ShelterBox. (Image – Vanuatu 2015)

The following is a press release from Rotary International:

Rotary and disaster relief charity ShelterBox renewed a three-year agreement to provide immediate, lifesaving assistance to survivors of natural disasters and conflict.


Rotary clubs worldwide have mobilized to provide immediate relief to thousands of displaced people quickly and efficiently with ShelterBox for 16 years. To date, Rotary members have donated US$48 million to provide shelter for families in need – 40 percent of ShelterBox’s total of US$119.6 million raised.


Australian SRT member, Peter Pearce takes part in Exercise Sea Dawn

Australian SRT member and Rotarian, Peter Pearce deployed 20 times with ShelterBox and was recently awarded the OAM for his humanitarian service. (Image – Exercise Sea Dawn with the ADF 2014)


“The partnership between Rotary and ShelterBox has provided a place of refuge to people facing some of the most difficult and uncertain moments in their lives,” said John Hewko, general secretary of Rotary. “We are happy to renew this project partnership and honor our ongoing commitment to taking action to help communities devastated by disasters and conflict.”


Each ShelterBox container typically provides a tent designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, along with regionally appropriate supplies such as a water purification kit, blankets, tools, solar lights, and other necessities to help a family survive for six months or more after a disaster.


As part of the communities they serve, Rotary clubs help ShelterBox identify and prioritize immediate relief needs in disaster-affected areas and assist with the deployment of shelter kits, education materials and lifesaving supplies. Rotary members also fund aid boxes, become trained relief volunteers, assist with shipping customs clearance and connect with governments and other organizations in impacted areas to facilitate the delivery of boxes and aid. CEO of ShelterBox, Chris Warham said, “Rotary and ShelterBox will always stand side by side to help those less fortunate. This project partnership renewal simply indicates the strength of our long friendship, and recognizes the immense practical and funding support provided by Rotary members worldwide to enable us to reach out to families in distress.”

Derek Locke in Nigeria 2012

Rotarian and SRT member from the US, Derek Locke recently received the ‘Service Above Self’ form Rotary International for his work with ShelterBox. (Image – Nigeria 2012)


About Rotary

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteers dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. To access broadcast quality video footage and still photos go to: The Newsmarket.


About ShelterBox

ShelterBox has provided emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families affected by more than 270 disasters in more than 95 countries, and has already helped over 1 million beneficiaries. Based in Cornwall, United Kingdom, with 18 international affiliates, ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter, warmth, and dignity to people made homeless by disasters worldwide. The agreement with Rotary reaffirms the charity’s volunteer base, enhancing its capacity to respond rapidly to disasters while keeping costs low. ShelterBox teams and their distribution partners are currently operating in Ecuador, Paraguay, Sri Lanka, Niger, Cameroon, Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.


ShelterBox Australia General Manager, Mike Greenslade (himself a member of the Rotary Club of Alstonville) said,

The renewing of the Project Partnership agreement with Rotary International is great news for both organisations. ShelterBox has moved on hugely since the original agreement was signed, for instance, we no longer only supply ShelterBoxes but instead have a large range of equipment that we can tailor to suit the needs of the beneficiaries. ShelterBox provides a great opportunity for Rotarians to get involved with international service wether it be an Ambassador or a Response Team member.

June in Seoul

ShelterBox Australia Ambassador and Rotarian, June Wade at the RI Convention in Seoul 2016

I’ve deployed many times with ShelterBox and have seen the value of Rotary in action in almost every country I’ve visited. Here in Australia,  Rotarians are essential to the day-to-day running of the organisation and fundraising from clubs and Ambassadors forms a huge part of our income. Put simply, without Rotary we would not be able to help so many people in desperate need’

Rotary International Extends Its Project Partnership With ShelterBox

Rotary International logo

ShelterBox is proud to be Rotary International’s only official project partner worldwide. Now, with the relationship being extended into 2016, Alison Wallace explains why this is such a strong ‘circle of friendship’

In 2012 ShelterBox received the accolade of becoming Rotary International’s first-ever official Project Partner. Now it has heard that this unique partnership will be renewed until at least March 2016.

ShelterBox CEO Alison Wallace says, ‘I’ve often thought that the phrase ‘what goes around, comes around’ suits Rotary ideally. Rotary has a circular emblem, and the notion of life having a circular karma – that personal acts of kindness will be returned to you via the kindness of others – seems to capture Rotary’s global spirit.’

‘The ShelterBox team shares that spirit, because there is no greater calling than helping people in distress. Time and again Rotarians work alongside ShelterBox – many of them within it. So I am delighted that Rotary International has extended our official project partnership, further strengthening a circle of friendship that reaches around the world.’

The agreement offers opportunities to collaborate and combine resources to provide emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world affected by disasters and humanitarian crises.

L-R ShelterBox Australia Ambassadors, John Hale, June Wade and David Brockway are all Presidents elect for their respective Rotary Clubs

L-R ShelterBox Australia Ambassadors, John Hale, June Wade and David Brockway are all Presidents elect for their respective Rotary Clubs

Fundraising efforts by Rotarians and their clubs worldwide make up a large proportion of the donations received by ShelterBox. Rotary clubs also provide invaluable support to field operations in disaster zones, by acting as consignees for aid, helping with transport, accommodation, providing vital local knowledge and an ability to cut through red tape. Many ShelterBox Response Team volunteers are Rotarians, and every one of ShelterBox’s international affiliate organisations was set up by Rotarians or Rotaracters.

Alison adds, ‘The importance of Rotary to ShelterBox can’t be overstated.  Just a handful of examples – it was a Rotary contact that alerted us to the monsoon floods in Malaysia this Christmas, and introduced our team to the country’s Prime Minister. We are one of very few western agencies able to operate in North Korea, due largely to liaison through a Rotary contact in Shanghai. Rotarians in Jordan have been essential to our work there helping Syrian refugees, and in May 2014 local Rotarians helped us to reach flood-stricken families in isolated parts of Serbia.’

Image of  SRT and Rotarian, Tony Williams

SRT member and Rotarian, Tony Williams exchanges a club banner with Rotary in Jordan

‘The list of our collaborations is continuous and endless. But I also think it is the individual acts of support that exemplify this special relationship, such as Medway Rotarian Ann Livings, who recently walked up Snowdon  despite having severe arthritis, raising funding for two ShelterBoxes.’

Back in 2012, Iquitos Rotarians in Peru alerted ShelterBox to Amazon River flooding. They worked with ShelterBox Response Team Malcolm Shead and Rachel Simpkins, provided translation, funded transport of ShelterBoxes up the river, and helped get aid to remote communities. By the end of the deployment ShelterBox and Rotary had provided 171 boxes to families in this inhospitable landscape.

Photo of SRT volunteers Alan Monroe (US), Bruce Heller (US) and Derek Locke (US) outside Iquitos Rotary Club, Peru, May 2012

SRT volunteers Alan Monroe (US), Bruce Heller (US) and Derek Locke (US) outside Iquitos Rotary Club, Peru, May 2012

For nearly a century Rotary clubs in the Philippines have been creating positive change. The first Philippine Rotary club was created in Manila in 1919, and in 1979 Rotary funded the immunisation of six million children to help eradicate polio. Now the Philippines’ 800 Rotary Clubs have stood alongside ShelterBox and its charity partners in a year-long response to Typhoon Haiyan, helping to create more resilient shelter so communities become less reliant on international aid after tropical storms.

Alison says, ‘In 15 years ShelterBox has grown from one Rotary club’s adopted project to become the largest global partnership in Rotary’s 100-year history. Last October I welcomed RIBI President Peter King to our Helston HQ. We both felt that the alliance of 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide with ShelterBox’s international reach had built a major force in humanitarian aid.’

‘It is great to see our partnership flourishing, and its official endorsement continuing for another year.’

ShelterBox at 104th Rotary International Convention

ShelterBox Global Scout Partnerships Coordinator Melissa Casagrande with Rotarians from Krasnodar, Russia who assisted with ShelterBox's deployment in Russia in 2012.

ShelterBox Global Scout Partnerships Coordinator Melissa Casagrande with Rotarians from Krasnodar, Russia who assisted with ShelterBox’s deployment in Russia in 2012.


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.



Rotary Project Partnership One Year On

A year has passed since ShelterBox became Rotary International's first Project Partner.

A year has passed since ShelterBox became Rotary International’s first Project Partner.


This agreement enables both organisations to collaborate more closely to bring relief and temporary shelter to survivors of disasters worldwide. The project partnership builds on both our strengths in responding to disasters all over the world.

Throughout 2012, and going into 2013, the benefits of this partnership have presented themselves time and time again:

Thank you to the global Rotary network for not only assisting ShelterBox on deployments but also for your efforts in raising vital funds and awareness for families affected by disaster.