District Conference – ShelterBox

District Conferences are meant to be motivational and there can’t be a much better motivational story than that of Rotarian Tom Henderson and the work of the ShelterBox charity which he launched.

Just 10 years ago Tom, a member of the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in Cornwall, noticed that the aid response to most disasters took the form of food and medicine to help people survive the immediate aftermath but that little or no assistance was given in terms of proper shelter to help them through the first few days, weeks and months as they tried to rebuild their lives. He started to think about how that gap could be filled – and from that was born the ShelterBox.


To date over 100,000 boxes have been distributed by the charity – now a Rotary Global Club Project – each containing a durable family tent designed to house a family of 10, thermal blankets and netting, a stove, water purifcation equipment and a toolkit as well as an activity pack for the children.

Along the way ShelterBox has gained a reputation for being one of the first on the scene of major disasters – something which Tom credits to the role which Rotarians with their local knowledge and connections play in ensuring that ShelterBox can get their response teams and boxes through where and when they are needed most.

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