Local Rotarians in countries affected by disasters often contribute vital support to ShelterBox responses, providing valuable points of contact for Response Teams through first-hand knowledge, introductions, logistical assistance, and vital links into communities.
Throughout August 2018, a series of earthquakes struck the Island of Lombok in Indonesia killing more than 460 people and displacing around 400,000. Rotarian Ace Robin, the current president of The Rotary Club of Mataram in Lombok discussed how her club could help affected families. Through pre-existing contacts in Indonesia, ShelterBox was put in touch with Ace.
Ace’s house was largely undamaged, but many of her friends’ and neighbors’ homes were destroyed. Ace and the Club of Mataram were instrumental in helping bring ShelterBoxes from Jakarta, liaising with heads of local communities to identify the most affected regions and distributing aid to families. Ace reflected that ”working with the ShelterBox Response Team taught us a lot; with their experience they showed us how to build and select families to help.”
The partnership ShelterBox and Rotary shares supports Rotary collaboration in the emergency phase of a disaster response, but it also means local Rotary clubs are then better able to continue to help communities in the next phase of their recovery. Ace stated, “it gave us a chance to show what Rotary is to local people. My club has continued to help the affected communities, help with school repairs and provide additional resources”, further aiding recovery. When asked why she had got involved in helping the response, Ace simply replied, “to be able to help people makes me happy”.
When the earthquake struck Central Sulawesi in Indonesia on 28 September 2018 it destroyed the home of Fatnizar and her family in the Tondo Village of Donggala. Many of the homes in her neighborhood survived the earthquake, only to be swept away moments later by the subsequent tsunami. Fatnizar relocated with her husband and four children to a football field five kilometres away.
A total of 121 families took refuge on this field across from a school; Fatnizar’s family had to share a space under a large tarpaulin with fifteen other families. A month had already passed when ShelterBox reached this newly formed community. The village leaders identified additional families in the area and with help from the Indonesian Disaster Management Agency and our local Rotary partners we were able to assist 150 families with tents, mosquito nets, water filters and carriers.
When we returned the following week on a hot day with light rain falling, Fatnizar was sewing under the awning of her tent. We learned that she had previously worked as a seamstress from her home, creating custom clothing for special orders. When the earthquake took her dwelling it also closed her business. The tent her family had been given not only provided a more private and secure space for the family, but also the opportunity for her to get back to work.
When your Rotary club chooses to support ShelterBox, you are providing people with the tools to begin the process of their own recovery. ShelterBox’s recent and current responses include the Philippines, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Syria, and Iraq. Find information about the RI-ShelterBox project partnership on the RI-ShelterBox Fact Sheet and check out the Partnership Action Tool Kit. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information about getting involved.
Rotary and ShelterBox are project partners for international disaster response. ShelterBox is a Charity independent of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.