Rotary and ShelterBox, A Year Of Collaboration

image of ShelterBox tent with rotary logo on

 

The global support from the Rotary network is the cornerstone that ShelterBox is built upon. Rotary has been instrumental in our growth and Rotarians are the cement that binds us together. Since we were founded, we grew from one club’s adopted project to the largest global Rotary club project in the 100-year history of the organisation. In 2014, both Rotary and ShelterBox have built upon this partnership, lending support to one another strategically, in terms of fundraising and awareness and with Rotarians lending operational support in many of our disaster responses.
In 2012, ShelterBox became Rotary International’s first project partner. This agreement offers opportunities to collaborate and combine resources to provide emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world who are affected by disasters and humanitarian crises.
The fundraising efforts by Rotarians make up a significant proportion of donations received by ShelterBox. Alongside this, Rotary Clubs provide invaluable logistical support during our disaster zone responses.
Rotarians will often be the people who ensure our aid can be delivered into a country by acting as consignees and taking responsibility for a delivery. These essential acts mean we can deliver aid to people in need as quickly as possible. More often than not, it will be Rotarians who are the first point of contact for our response team volunteers when they arrive in a country that has been devastated by a disaster. They provide everything from logistical support, translators and local knowledge, to a bed to sleep in.
This slideshow celebrating International Rotary Day 2014 highlights how Rotarians have volunteered for ShelterBox in response to the Syria crisis, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and flooding in Niger throughout 2013 and early 2014.
 
The global Rotary network has been key in our international growth. At present, all of our affiliates have been set up by Rotarians or Rotaracters and the growth has been phenomenal.
Operational support
In May of 2014, local Rotarians leant much-needed support to help shelter flood-stricken families in isolated areas of Serbia. The region had suffered what many were calling the worst flooding in the Balkans in decades. Response team volunteer Giles Walker produced this short film, in which we hear from local Rotarian Svetislav Goncic who was invaluable in assisting ShelterBox throughout the response in the region.

In a year which has seen ShelterBox respond to 25 disasters around the world we’d like to extend a huge thanks to the global Rotary community without the support of which we could not continue our work to help families in need following disasters.

Thank You Rotary For Your Help With The Philippines

Bill Decker (US) is one of our Rotarian Response Team members helping bring shelter to families in need in the Philippines, November 2013.

Bill Decker (US) is one of our Rotarian Response Team members helping bring shelter to families in need in the Philippines, November 2013.

 

In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, a call for Rotarians to help ShelterBox in the Philippines has gone out from the USA, where Rotary International President Ron D. Burton is urging 1.2 million members and 34,000 clubs worldwide to contribute to the charity’s relief programme.
 
With ShelterBox and Rotary International being global project partners, it is no surprise that Rotary Clubs across the world have risen to the call since Haiyan struck the Philippines. Within days of the greatest storm to make landfall ever, ShelterBox experienced a huge surge in fundraising donations, and Rotary Clubs worldwide were lead players in this response.
 
‘This disaster is exactly why we entered into our partnership with ShelterBox,’ said Ron. ‘It gives concerned Rotary members the opportunity to respond immediately and in a very meaningful way to life-threatening conditions faced by the people of the Philippines. 
 
‘Change lives for the better’
 
‘On Friday, I visited their website and sponsored a ShelterBox to help a family in need, and I encourage you to do the same if you’re able to do so – any level of support will help to change lives for the better.’ 
 
Becky Maynard, ShelterBox Director of Fundraising and Communications, replied, ‘It has been astounding to see Rotary clubs and Rotarians around the world mobilising so quickly to support the people of the Philippines. 
 
 
Every ShelterBox tent displays the Rotary Roundel to highlight the global project partnership between both organisations, Philippines, November 2013.

Every ShelterBox tent displays the Rotary Roundel to highlight the global project partnership between both organisations, Philippines, November 2013.

 

‘We are working directly with Rotarians in the Philippines and we have Rotarian Response Team members on the ground. The partnership between ShelterBox and the global Rotary family really demonstrates how, through service and support, we can make a real difference to people in their greatest hour of need.’
 
And, to top all the overwhelming fundraising activity and work in the field, has now had an official commendation from the Philippines Government via its UK Embassy. Gladys Corbett, Honorary Consul to the Philippines, was visiting the Rotary Club of Braids last Saturday to help out with a collection for ShelterBox in the city of Edinburgh. Clubs in this district have already raised enough for 30 ShelterBoxes.
 
In a message to Rotary District Governor Kate Keter, Mrs Corbet said, ‘I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the ShelterBox. I was pleased to lend my, albeit brief, support today and will inform the Embassy in London about your fundraising effort.’
 
‘ShelterBox is spot on’
 
‘ShelterBox is spot on with what they do to relieve the suffering of those who have lost homes and possessions. On behalf of the Philippine Government and the Philippine Embassy in London I send my sincere gratitude to all members of the Rotary Club of Braids for their support to help those who have lost everything in the Typhoon Haiyan disaster.’
 
From everyone at ShelterBox, a huge thank you to every Rotarian around the world who is supporting our disaster relief work in the Philippines. Together we are making a difference. Thank you. 

 

Australian SRT Member Leads Rotary Team in PNG

Australian ShelterBox Response Team member, Greg Moran, from Inverell, NSW has just returned from Kokoda in Papua New Guinea where he led a team of rotarians helping to build a hospital. Earlier this year, Greg led a ShelterBox Response Team in Tasmania following the devastating bush fires. Here, is up to something a little different, you can read Greg’s report below.

Rotary volunteers and locals club together to build the new hospital

Rotary volunteers and locals club together to build the new hospital

“A group of nine volunteers, made up of members of three Rotary clubs and other volunteers, spent two weeks during late August and early September at Kokoda, Papua New Guinea. Led by Greg Moran from Inverell Rotary Club the main project was the commencement of a building to be used primarily as a Hospital Aids Clinic. Funding was provided by a private endowment to Rotary.

The group comprising Greg and Sue Moran, Phil Goddard, Lyn Eddie and Terry Cross from Inverell, Bob Swain, Richard Clarke and Arthur Hall from Warialda and Bob Missingham from Murwillumbah arrived in Port Moresby on 20th August and spent some time sight-seeing and visiting Bomana War Cemetery before flying to Popondetta the following day. With all the extra luggage (eight laptop computers and nine boxes) it was a challenge transporting it all and some overweight had to unfortunately be paid so that they could fly in PNG. They had a welcoming committee waiting for them at the airport and again at Kokoda Hospital when staff, locals and even the local member held an official welcome as well as decorating the accommodation with brightly coloured flowers.

Work progressed well on the AIDs clinic with the help of six local volunteers as well as five vocational students doing work experience. Bob Swain often worked late training locals with welding skills. The group initially threw their efforts into organising the work site, with foundations and footings being dug and concreted with steel foundations. This allowed the team to also work on footpaths, ramps and steps for the Clinic building while waiting for the delivery of the timber for the floor joists and bearers. When this timber was delivered the flooring and prefabricated walls were completed. Time was also found to complete maintenance on the main hospital replacing flywire and fixing roof leaks, some painting and the installation of three tanks on existing buildings that were completed on the previous trip.

A team of Rotarians from Inverell, Warialda and Murwillimbah have commenced building a Hospital in the remote Kokoda region of PNG

A team of Rotarians from Inverell, Warialda and Murwillimbah have commenced building a Hospital in the remote Kokoda region of PNG

The Rotary teams worked closely with the local workers and Tech students who learned a variety of skills from the team members from Australia. The team also learned a few skills from the locals as well, and the interaction and friendships between the groups was very evident when it was time for the team to return home. Fortuately the team had a kit of new power tools to carry out the building works thanks to the generosity of Bunnings, Inverell and Ozito tools, and the local workmen were most impressed when taught to use these tools.

While the men were involved in the building the two ladies in the team were involved in various teaching activities and the distribution of a large amount of donated items. Eight preloved laptop computers provided by Pam Vincent and Computerbank were used in computer lessons for hospital staff and other local professionals. Some people had more advanced training while the majority had no previous computer experience and were very excited to learn some valuable skills that could be used in their everyday work.

Concrete and steel foundations for the new hospital

Concrete and steel foundations for the new hospital, new skills are learned by the local volunteers.

Two donated electric sewing machines and a large amount of fabric had a number of ladies very excited with learning new skills. Each day they spent several hours learning to sew as well as producing shoulder bags, simple items of clothing and stuffed toys. As well as being able to make much needed items for their own families, they saw this as an opportunity for the future to produce items that they could sell at the local markets for much needed cash. Donated knitting needles and wool were used for knitting classes and the ladies loved the fact that they could knit items in their spare time.

A large quantity of children’s clothing made by Elsie McIlhenney was distributed to needy children. Many children in this area don’t possess any or very little clothing so were very excited to have lovely new clothes. Bras were collected by Moree Rotary Club and were very popular with the local ladies as it is difficult and expensive for them to buy these items. Lightning Ridge Rotary Club put together baby kits which are provided to mothers who give birth at the hospital. This is an incentive for the mothers to have their delivery at the hospital and has been proved to increase the survival rate for both mothers and babies. Red Cross donated some knitted teddy bears for the children in the hospital and these were very gratefully received by the children who have no other toys. They were also copied by the knitting ladies. As well, donated First Aid books and bandages were put to good use in the training and resourcing of village volunteers. A big thank you to everyone in Inverell and other towns who made it possible for the donation of all these items.

As well as working on these projects, the team had the opportunity for some recreation. This is the very scenic and iconic area of the Kokoda track, with brightly coloured flowers, green countryside and the majestic mountains of the Owen Stanley Range. The team spent a pleasant afternoon walking the first part of the Kokoda Track, visited Mamba Estate, originally the home of legendary Bert Kienzel, the man responsible for organizing the supply lines for the Kokoda Campaign and at the end of the two weeks away visiting Sanananda, site of some of the most ferocious fighting in PNG during the war when the Japanese were pushed off the island. The local landowners have built a traditional guest house next to the beach and treated the team to a traditional welcome, a beautiful meal and a night dance as well as demonstrating some of the aspects of their traditional lifestyle which has changed very little from that of their ancestors.

Overall, this was a very successful, rewarding and enjoyable experience for members of the team. There is always more work to do and it is intended that a further team will return to Kokoda early next year to complete this project.”

If you would like to find out about joining Rotary please visit: http://www.rotary.org.au

ShelterBox provides a great opportunity for international service for rotarians and non-rotarians alike. To find out more please visit: www.shelterboxaustralia.org.au