As a company we do our best to support good causes, both locally and globally too. So when it came to the end of the financial year and we had some money ‘left in the pot’ we chose to make a charity donation to ShelterBox.
ShelterBox provide shelters and support to people whose lives have been turned upside down because of disaster. We initially became aware of their work on Boxing Day 2004 when an earthquake and tsunami hit the Indian Ocean. Simon, our warehouse manager was in Thailand at the time, and whilst Simon was fortunately unaffected by the disaster, it made the whole event very real to us. After searching for a way to help those affected by the catastrophe Nickie, our Financial Director was introduced to ShelterBox, and chose to make a donation towards their work there.
A ShelterBox is a big green plastic box packed with a large all-weather tent, along with tools, cooking utensils and essential equipment; enough to give a family shelter, and the possibility to try to rebuild their lives after being subjected to such devastation. In some cases, the tents are populated just by children, as their parents have been tragically lost, and they have no-one else to live with.
Along with supplying these much-needed shelters, ShelterBox work with and train local organisations to be able to help their communities rebuild and create a new normal. All of this is done by a Response Team, who have undergone specialist training to make them as useful as possible to those affected, in their time of need.
I was lucky enough to meet David Hatcher when he came to visit us last month. David is a former Police Officer, and in his retirement has found himself apart of the ShelterBox Response Team, and also an ambassador for their work. He attends events like ours, and explains what it is really all about. Here I’m holding a solar-powered light; two are supplied with each tent and they come with small rechargeable batteries. Not only are they useful for finding things after dark, but when hung on the front of tents they help in illuminating the streets at night which is proven to reduce crime rates, and increase the feeling of personal security in the aftermath of disaster.
Here are things we’d take hugely for granted in the UK, but to an individual or a family, who have been left with nothing, these well thought out, and easy to use items are life changing.
I could recall more stories from David about how they shipped 33,000 tents to Haiti after the earthquake there in 2010. That sounds like a huge number (and it is) until you hear that over 2 million people were made homeless that day…
We know our donation of £1500 will go towards helping those who need it most to rebuild their lives. A ShelterBox costs just over £500 to produce, a solar light is about a fifteen quid; our money will make a difference for sure.
If you would like to know more about their good work, or want to find out how you could help please look here.
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage