ShelterBox was founded in 2000 in the small town of Helston in Cornwall, UK. That same year the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard adopted it as its millennium project. Little did they know that it would become a Rotary project partner, with an ever-growing number of international affiliates.
The first consignment of 143 boxes was sent to earthquake victims 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 faced its most significant challenge, one that would change its course forever. Donations and volunteers poured in and we were able to ramp up our operations on a scale unimaginable just six months earlier.
In 2005 we sent out more than 22,000 boxes, almost 10 times the number we had sent out in the previous three years. Not only were we sending aid to victims of the Tsunami, but we were also able to help those who had lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina in the USA and the massive earthquake that 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.
We have continued to build on our Tsunami experience, helping as many people as we can, as quickly as we can, the moment disaster strikes.
We have now worked on every continent, responding to earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, typhoons, hurricanes, volcanoes and conflicts.