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.



ShelterBox and Rotary International sign project partnership

ShelterBox and Rotary International (RI) have formed a project partner agreement this month, signed by John Hewko, Rotary International’s General Secretary, and Tom Henderson OBE, ShelterBox Founder and CEO.

Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko with Tom Henderson

The formalisation of this partnership cements a 12-year relationship providing emergency shelter and life-saving humanitarian aid for hundreds of thousands of families around the world, who have been made homeless by disaster.

ShelterBox began as a Rotary Club Millennium Project in 2000 and today continues to have a significant input from Rotarians in its governance Board, senior management, operational capacity and international development.

‘Rotary and Rotarians have been integral in the operational development of the organisation, from being eyes and ears on the ground during deployments, to providing logistics, accommodation and translation services, right to assisting with the pitching of tents,’ said Tom. ‘Many of our global Response Team volunteers are Rotarians.  Others have joined the Rotary family having seen the difference that Rotary and ShelterBox make on the ground. They have always helped us in endless ways.’

Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee with Lasse Petersen

Not only have Rotary clubs and Rotarians historically contributed a significant percentage of ShelterBox’s income but members of the Rotary family have also founded each one of its 21 affiliates. This support remains key for the charity to be prepared for a disaster of any scale and to be in a position to assist the most vulnerable families at the time when they need it the most.

Through the new partnership, the two organisations will assist Rotarians to be part of a critical solution at times of disaster through providing humanitarian service when disasters occur in their area; engaging with ShelterBox in disaster preparedness initiatives within their country or District; and supporting ShelterBox readiness, awareness and capacity building.

‘For more than ten years, ShelterBox has given light to over one hundred thousand families worldwide in their darkest hour,’ said John. ‘This project partner agreement represents our mutual goal of helping those in need. It gives RI a forward-facing approach to immediate disaster relief.’

‘It’s an historic moment for us to become a Rotary project partner,’ said Tom. ‘It’s the first of its kind and is a great opportunity for us to engage with our Rotary friends around the world to increase awareness of what we do with Rotary and, of course, an opportunity for Rotarians to increase our avenues of service worldwide.’