At ShelterBox, our purpose is to provide emergency shelter to families who have lost their homes to disaster, enabling them to rebuild their lives.
We go to hard to reach communities, often those overlooked by others, to provide vulnerable families a place to call home. Working with our partners and our global network, we support communities around the world to rebuild and recover.
Since the year 2000, ShelterBox has served 1.5 million people in over 100 countries around the globe. Every day, our Response Team Members are hand-delivering aid to disaster zones, in the most remote parts of the world to reach people who would otherwise be forgotten.
For almost ten years, Cameroon has hosted one of the largest refugee camps in the Central African Sub-Region. It is home to tens of thousands of people who have fled their country because of insecurity. In Minawao Camp, there are so many people with harrowing stories; one of them is a courageous woman named Fanne.
Fanne, a 30-year-old mother of eight children, is now living in Minawao Refugee Camp in Cameroon. After violent extremist attacks by Boko Haram forced Fanne to leave behind her husband and home in Nigeria, she and her eight children arrived at the refugee camp with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They were taken to a crowded collective center at the camp where they lived for three months. Fanne shared, "this is an indescribable feeling; you can’t imagine or understand unless it happens to you."
In June 2020, ShelterBox provided Fanne and her children with a humanitarian shelter tent and essential household items to help rebuild their lives. They have since moved out of the collective center into a new home and life has improved. With her new shelter she can keep her family safe at home.
“I collected a tent, blankets, solar lamps, bucket, water carriers and much more. The other items helped me a lot in keeping water, covering the children, and lighting the house at night.”
Fanne remained focused on taking care of her children who are still very young. Nevertheless, she is a single mother of young children, among them a baby of just nine months, so it has not been easy for her to find a job.
“It’s the same routine every day here in Minawao. To keep myself busy, I go to the bush to collect firewood to sell. I can go to the bush three times a day to collect more and more firewood. The money I get from the sales helps me buy some food. In the evening I usually visit and have a little chat with friends and neighbors before going to bed.”
The assistance provided by ShelterBox is helping Fanne to rebuild her life, with some necessary materials for daily activities, enabling her to be less dependent on the community.
Fanne is now thinking about improving her living conditions. She is conscious that she needs to earn money and dreams for a better life, not only for herself, but also for her children. She said they need to go to school. She needs to put into place a business that she can manage from home - that is her ambition. She doesn’t want to go far away from home because the children are still too young to stay alone.
“I wish I can start a business that might help me send my children to school and allow me to give them the opportunity to become important people in the future. I would like to learn how to sew clothes so that I can do it from home and take care of my children.”
Since leaving everything she owned behind, she no longer has precious materials or tools. Fanne said the most important object to her is the pot she uses for cooking. Since receiving ShelterBox aid, she can now cook a good meal when she is able to. “My favorite object in possession is my pot that I use to cook. That is the only thing I cannot share; my children eat thanks for it.”
To learn more about ShelterBox please visit www.ShelterBoxUSA.org