One box can make all the difference...
Each box is packed at ShelterBox HQ in Cornwall, England. Depending on the location and nature of the disaster the contents of the box may vary but each box typically contains...
At the heart of every ShelterBox is a disaster relief tent big ebough to house a family. It is custom made for ShelterBox by Vango, one of the world’s leading tent manufacturers, and is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, high winds and heavy rainfall. Internally, each tent has privacy partitions that allow recipients to divide the space as they see fit.
A children’s pack containing drawing books, crayons and pens. For children who have lost most, if not all,their possessions, these small gifts are treasured.
Warmth and protection
In addition to the tent, there is a range of other survival equipment including thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets, essential in areas where temperatures plummet at nightfall. Where malaria is prevalent mosquito nets are supplied, as well a life saving means of water purification. Water supplies often become contaminated after a major disaster, as infrastructure and sanitation systems are destroyed, this presents a secondary but no less dangerous threat to survivors than the initial disaster itself.
A basic tool kit containing a hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters enables people to improve their immediate environment, by chopping firewood or digging a latrine, for example. Then, when it is possible, to start repairing or rebuilding the home they were forced to leave.
Fit for purpose
Every item is durable, practical and brand new. The box itself is lightweight and waterproof and has been used for a variety of purposes in the past - from water and food storage containers to a cot for a newly born baby.
We keep a broad range of equipment in stock so we can adapt the contents of a box to a specific disaster. For example, following the Javanese earthquake in 2006, when some resources were available locally or could be salvaged from one storey buildings, the overwhelming need was for shelter – so we just sent tents, packing two in each box.
Our Shelter Kits conform to IFRC standards and consist of a shelter tool kit (shovel, hoe, hammer, saw, tin-snips, 15m of nylon rope, tie-wire, carpentry and roofing nails) plus two 6 x 4m reinforced tarpaulins. Kits can be used to repair a damaged building or build an emergency shelter.
We deliver the essentials people need to begin rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of a disaster. When we send boxes, each one is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for a family, thermal blankets and groundsheets, water storage and purification equipment, solar lamps, cooking utensils, a basic tool kit, mosquito nets and children’s activity pack.
For colder countries, we can deliver winterised boxes that include more blankets and groundsheets and a thermal liner that fits between the inner and outer layers of the tent retaining more heat.
Sometimes our aid is not packed in boxes but sent in bulk. It is essential that we always support the needs of those who have survived disasters and this can vary enormously based on the type and scale of a disaster. We also do this to maximise donors’ money ensuring that we only send what is really needed and appropriate for the situation and culture.
We are also constantly evolving as a charity and developing our aid. There are different needs for different disasters. We sometimes provide midi tents that are a more compact version of our standard disaster relief tent. They are smaller to transport, easier to put up and take up less space, ideal for responses where space is at a premium or where temporary shelter is required for a shorter amount of time, like flooding. We can also deliver Shelter Kits containing plastic sheeting, basic tools, rope and fixings that enable families to rapidly provide their own shelter or make repairs to their damaged houses in the aftermath of a disaster.
In any disaster a large number of people without shelter will inevitably be children. Schools will often have been destroyed along with homes and other buildings. ShelterBox will, therefore, sometimes include ‘SchoolBoxes' in their aid consignments. These contain essential supplies for teachers, including blackboard paint and chalk, along with school equipment for 50 children.
Please note: We do not fundraise separately for the SchoolBoxes. These are only sent out as part of an overall aid consignment and are paid for through general funds. This is because our main focus is on the emergency humanitarian aid and we only send these boxes where we have heard a school or several schools have been destroyed.