ShelterBox was founded by Tom Henderson OBE, a Rotarian and former Royal Navy search and rescue diver.
He noticed that the aid response to most disasters, natural and man-made, was in the form of food and medicine to help people survive the immediate aftermath.
However, little or no assistance was given to the people and families of these disasters in terms of proper shelter to help them through the first few days, weeks and months as they tried to rebuild their lives. ShelterBox was launched to fill that void.
In 1999, Tom began researching the idea, sourcing equipment and twisting arms to get the project off the ground. His persistence paid off when in April 2000 ShelterBox was launched and the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in Cornwall adopted it as its millennium project. Little did they know that it would become the largest Rotary club project in the world, with an ever-increasing number of international affiliates.
The first consignment of 143 boxes was sent to victims of the earthquake in the Indian state of Gujarat in January 2001. Over the next three years the project matured and by the end of 2004 nearly 2,600 boxes had been dispatched, following 16 major disasters. On 26 December 2004, news came of the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami and ShelterBox was faced its most significant challenge yet, one that would change its course forever. Donations and volunteers poured in and they were able to ramp up the operation on a scale unimaginable just six months earlier.
In 2005, more than 22,000 boxes had been sent out. That’s almost 10 times the number they had sent out in the previous three years. Not only were Shelterbox sending aid to victims of the Tsunami, but they were also helping those who had lost their homes when Hurricane Katrina had hit in the USA and the massive earthquake that had hit the Kashmir region of Pakistan. In just a few short months, ShelterBox had emerged as a major player in the field of international disaster relief.
Shelterbox have now worked on every continent, responding to earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, typhoons, hurricanes, volcanoes and conflicts.
The Street would like to thank Shelterbox on all the amazing work they’ve achieve over the 10+ years that they have been running. You guys are amazing and it’s great to see people who care.