Cornwall, England

Nov 1, 2011
Outside Magazine

BY THE NUMBERS: More than one million natural-­disaster victims supplied since 2001
WHO'S IN CHARGE: Tom Henderson, 61, a former Royal Navy search-and-rescue diver and offshore-drilling consultant
WHAT IT DOES: Henderson established ShelterBox in 2000 to offer practical tools to disaster victims so they can help themselves, an approach designed to foster self-reliance and self-esteem. Each $1,000 kit, which comes in a durable box that doubles as a storage container or crib, contains a family tent (­torture-tested to withstand high winds, heavy rain, and ­extreme temperatures), blankets, a multifuel stove, a cookset, a water filtration ­system, tools, and an activity pack for kids. Teams of volunteers deploy to disaster sites—often within 24 hours—hand-deliver boxes, and teach families how to use them. ShelterBox spent more than $19 million on programs last year; since 2001, it has distributed 110,000 boxes in 150 disaster zones, including the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, ­Hurricane Katrina, and the Haiti earthquake.
EXTRA CREDIT: Individual donations—which go straight to paying for box contents—can be followed with tracking numbers.
LOOKING AHEAD: Shelter­Box recently revamped its Shelter­Box Academy, which trains hundreds of volunteers every year to operate in harsh, remote locales. It’s now offering more courses for the public, including university classes, corporate team training, and first-aid programs, which raise funds for volunteer education.