You are here: Spring appeal Aid innovation

Innovation in action


shelterbox baby in a box
Baby Immanuel sleeps in a crib made from a ShelterBox

A box full of essential aid items? A seat for weary legs? A crib for a new-born baby? 

When disaster has stolen everything, we’ve seen families using our sturdy ShelterBoxes in innovative ways.  

They can keep food and schoolbooks dry. They can store utensils and clothes. They can even give a baby a cosy place to sleep.

Margaretha was pregnant with baby Immanuel when floods swept through her village in Namibia. When her newborn arrived weeks later, she turned her ShelterBox into a crib!

shelterbox solar lights
Rahma uses her solar light to keep her education on track

Light to see by in an emergency? A way to continue your homework after dark? A tool to scare lions away?  

We’ve lost count of the number of inventive ways that families have used our solar lights. Take 13-year-old Rahma in Somaliland, who uses our rechargeable solar lights to study at night. The drought might have turned her life upside down, but a durable solar light means she can keep her education on track.

Or take the farmer in Kenya who uses his flashing solar light to deter lions from his animals. This kind of creative thinking means he can sleep a little better at night! 

tom stoddart shelterbox bangladesh
Sliding downhill on water carriers in Bangladesh. Photo: Tom Stoddart

We've seen ShelterBox aid turned into shops, schools and even hairdressers. 

But one of the most joyful examples of innovation we've seen was in Bangladesh during the Rohingya Crisis. A group of children were using water carriers as a sledge to slide down the mud hills. Because disasters shouldn't put a pause on childhood!

Your support could not only provide life-changing aid to families in desperate need, but also allow children to play, helping them to forget and move on from what they've been through.

A ShelterBox vintage tent in China.

A place to call home? Somewhere to run a business? 

Our tents offer more than just protection from the weather – for families who’ve lost so much, a tent is nothing short of a temporary home.  

They have been used as a space to call home, to run a business and people still use them many years later to do so. 

In the Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve in Sichuan, China, a ShelterBox tent is still being used by a bee keeper, perhaps for work or as a home! 

Shelter is an important step to recovery - we supported  families in the area following the earthquake in China in 2008.

shelterbox building a shelterkit

Innovation is only possible with your help

With the right materials at the right time, more people like Margaretha and Rahma can overcome disaster. With just a handful of nails, a hammer and a tarpaulin in their ShelterKit, people can begin to rebuild.