Being part of a team is a natural human instinct, but what is it like being part of a team like ShelterBox? What does it feel like to be an ambassador of a group who literally saves thousands of lives every year by providing shelter when faced with disaster? A team who’s goal is to keep communities and families together in times of isolation and fright.
I will never forget my first lesson on natural disaster, crammed into a temporary classroom hut at my secondary school, not knowing quite how important my lessons really were.
“The Christchurch and Haiti earthquakes were both a powerful magnitude of between 6.0 & 7.0, yet in Christchurch 181 bodies were found, whilst in Haiti nearly a quarter of a million civilians lost their lives” said Mr Thomas, my Geography teacher at the time.
Instinct was to feel terrified, followed by questions of why, followed by urge to do something. How is that possible? In a world as modern as ours, how is a statistic like that even formed? Our human world is split into two; those who can uphold against disaster, and those who simply do not have the technology or facilities to do so. Those who face disaster, and those who never have to. It is quite honestly astonishing, overwhelming and frightening all at the same time.
Take the Philippines for example; home of beautiful stretching landscapes, of idyllic crystal water and wildlife more colourful than our drizzle drowned British rainbows. A country so impressively stunning that we often feel compelled to chose to spend our honeymoons and holiday escapes here, basking in the Asian sun on palm covered beaches. Yet are you aware that in fact the Philippines is home to at least 5 different disasters of which most happen every year? Even idyllic beauty cannot withstand the power of nature. Since 2004, ShelterBox has responded here 25 times assisting over 21,500 local families for disasters including storms, typhoons, floods, cyclones, and earthquakes. 18 of these responses were for cyclones alone, whilst one response included that of Typhoon Haiyan; one of the deadliest and largest typhoons of all time.
Skip forward a few years and this is why I am with Shelterbox; an ambassador of a cause I could not feel more compelled about. ShelterBox are the light for so many families facing fears we can never even imagine or plan to experience. And I want to be a part of that.
Besides a few odd ends of people not willing to accept climate change and its relation to disaster, I have found so much joy in the response of the public and those close to me. To know that knowledge has been shared from one to another, each time extending the line or awareness, has been more than fulfilling. It has been so compelling to watch many of you have the exact reaction that I found myself having back in that classroom hut all those years ago. I have loved your questions, your interest and your general love for this amazing charity and the things that they do. I promise, they have been more than grateful in return.
For more information on ShelterBox and what they do, visit their website and read some of the amazing case studies that they have been a part of. Or alternatively, please feel free to get in contact with me and I will happily oblige to answer any of your questions or general chat. I can also recommend taking a trip to Cornwall and stopping by at their incredible visitors centre; plus it’s also a great excuse for a holiday…
I wish to send my sincere condolences to those who have been affected by the impacts of disaster, or know of those who have been.
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