Inside ShelterBox

Imagine this. You get home from work, you park the car in the garage. The kids are in the back seat. You get out to find your house in ruins. Small fires have been started and you can see all your things strewn about the place. Your youngest child’s teddy is lying on the ground with a singed ear. You pick it up, with the sound of gunshot fires blaring in your ear. You don’t know what to do, to escape, to run away from this place. You arrive after a tiring journey. Walking through rocky ground, your children crying, not knowing what to do. Arriving at a refugee camp, with nothing except from the singed teddy. Imagine a green box arriving, just imagine the relief.

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How many people do you think you would be able to fit in one medium sized tent?

Fathom this, more than one hundred people have had to fit in one of these medium sized ShelterBox tents. The need for help and a sense of security is greatly needed in many parts of the world today. For two very important but decidedly dangerous reasons, natural disasters and manmade disasters.

Millions of people flee every year from war zones. Kill zones, in order to survive. They flee to surrounding countries and arrive with nothing. This is where ShelterBox comes in. It rapidly responds  boxes that contain, pots for cooking, blankets, ground sheets, a solar light, a tool kit, mosquito nets, writing utensils, a water filter and many more lifesaving objects that give a feeling of normality back to those that have lost everything. Shelterbox also helps people rebuild their lives after cyclones, earthquakes or other natural disasters strike, destroying everything its wake, including people’s homes, families and lives.

No matter what disaster it is, if Shelterbox are asked to provide international help, It will do all it can to provide that wanted feeling of normality and support for those whose lives has been destroyed by natural disasters or war.

ShelterBox is a Cornish charity, based in Helston, but after 16 years, it has spread around the world, with many branches in other countries and continents. It helps countries after a natural disaster or after a man-made disaster, like conflict and poverty. ShelterBox has helped thousands and thousands of families rebuild their lives through these boxes, and all this is a charity, funded by the general public.

ShelterBox’s first disaster was the earthquake in Gujarat, India, in January 2001, it’s first consignment of ShelterBoxes to the victims consisting of 143 boxes. Over 3 years, by 2004, that number of boxes increased to 2,600 following 16 disasters. ShelterBox has grown massively over the 16 years it has been functioning and has branches in lots of other countries. But this kind of help is not cheap.

ShelterBox gives away hundreds and hundreds of boxes to major disasters all over the world. But this is definitely not cheap, as the cost of one box full of equipment which is needed is £500 plus £90 for the transport of the box, making the total cost of just one box approx. £590!

There are many small, useful things in a box, e.g. kitchen utensils… but people don’t just need those things to survive as they also need some shelter! 1 tent (per box/family) costs £40.

In some situations, tents and boxes are not needed or wanted so ShelterBox gives the people in need a repair kit instead of a box. But the repair kit is also not cheap and it costs £10 more than a tent, so it costs (£50 in tax free countries).

There was a disaster in North Korea where the cost of survival for one family was £800 approx.!  The largest disaster that ShelterBox has ever had to deal with was an earthquake in Haiti in 2010 which cost a total of (approximately) £20 000 000!

Without your help, ShelterBox will no longer be able to function, and that is why this is a worthy cause to be donating to.

Reported by Sophie Johns, Lowena Olver and Ruby Ashby

BBC School Report