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Shelterbox Offers Hope When Disaster Strikes
Sep 17, 2008
By day, Dave Hallett is a mild-mannered director of information systems at Queen's University in Ontario .
“When you get the phone call to go, there's a bit of trepidation, because you don't know exactly what you're getting yourself into,” said Hallett.
“You really kind of rally behind the people out there who need what you're doing.”
Shelterbox got its start in England in 2000, the result of a worldwide Rotary Club challenge to develop millennium projects. The organization operates by sending boxes filled with necessities — a 10-person tent shelter, water containers and purification tablets, sleeping gear, cookers, pots and pans, and dish sets — to devastated regions around the world. The gear is manufactured in countries across the globe and each box costs about $1,200 to fill and ship. Hallett explained shipping containers filled with hundreds of the boxes are strategically placed around the world, ready to be shipped out at a moment's notice.
Hallett travelled to Somaliland in October 2007 to aid with refugee relief efforts and to China in June 2008 to help earthquake victims there.
“Not many people who suffer natural disasters think that someone is going to travel thousands of miles across the world and give them something that might be better than anything they've had before and not ask for anything in return,” said Hallett.
“When they realize that, the smile on their face is priceless.”
Shelterbox was one of the first organizations on the ground in Burma after Cyclone Nargis devastated the country in May. The organization's lack of a political agenda and ability to mobilize quickly was key to its success in Burma , said Hallett.
Since its inception, Shelterbox has given out more than 50,000 boxes, helping more than 700,000 people in 47 countries. For more information, visit www.shelterbox.ca.
Source: Lethbridge Herald.com