Notes from the Field: ShelterBox and LuminAID Illuminate Dominica

Notes from the Field: ShelterBox and LuminAID Illuminate Dominica

ShelterBox brought LuminAID solar lights to Dominica and other Caribbean Islands where power was knocked out by Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma. Safe light and shelter are helping these communities recover from the devastating storms.
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Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean towards in the fall of 2017.  ShelterBox took action and started delivering ShelterBoxes--comprehensive aid and resources for survival and rebuilding. With these necessities for survival and comfort including shelter and safe light, families in Dominica and across the Caribbean are able to begin to recover. 

Recipient of LuminAID light in Dominica

Catherine Adams shows her LuminAID light, distributed by ShelterBox

A moving story of the positive impact this aid can have comes from the island of Dominica, where Catherine George is an elderly woman living in Dominica with her disabled daughter, Elaine. Catherine and Elaine were left scared and vulnerable when Hurricane Maria tore off the roof to their home. Ten weeks after that devastating day, a ShelterBox response team checked in on Catherine and her sister. They were in great spirits, laughing on the steps of their newly patched home. They told the team that a local man, called Nixon, had kindly repaired their roof using some salvaged corrugated iron with the nails and tarpaulin they had previously received from ShelterBox. 
LuminAID light charging in Bangladesh
A LuminAID light charges on a ShelterBox tarpaulin roof in Bangladesh
Catherine said, "We used the ShelterKit, LuminAID, and Jerry Can, which ShelterBox supplied us, which really helped us get back on track!"  They also mentioned how the LuminAID solar lantern was especially valuable to them.  "The LuminAID is bright and lovely. I charge it in the sunshine during the day and it makes a huge difference at night time. It allows me to cook, to safely collect water, and stay up after dark to get my life back to normal."
Catherine urged the team to enter her house to meet her disabled daughter, Elaine. As they walked in, a broad smile appeared on Elaine's face. The team asked Elaine how the LuminAID solar lantern had helped her and she replied, "It has really helped me. My mother uses it to read to me at night, and it is really helpful when I need to get into and out of bed to go to the bathroom."
ShelterBox distribution Somaliland
Men transport a ShelterBox full of aid in Somaliland

ShelterBox has three main objectives: aid, delivery, and impact. They have created ShelterBoxes and  ShelterKits with essential materials to rebuild a life and space of comfort after such a traumatizing event. Some of the items may include: tents, utensils, ropes, LuminAID solar lights, and toolkits, varying based off the climate and the disaster. After the devastating 2017 hurricane season, ShelterBox traveled to six different regions in the Caribbean to deliver ShelterBoxes and ShelterKits to people affected. Dominica was a target location for this aid, with ShelterBox supporting redevelopment of the island. Along with Barbuda, Dominica is witnessing a positive, but gradual, recovery from the devastation of the hurricanes.

LuminAID, a longtime partner of ShelterBox, is proud to work with ShelterBox to get crucial aid the Caribbean. LuminAID solar lights provided in ShelterBoxes provide a portable and rechargeable source of light to those without electricity. The solar lights offer a safe and cost-free source of light for recipients who may otherwise be forced to rely on candles or kerosene. LuminAID lights have the potential of an even greater impact when combined with the other targeted aid provided in each ShelterBox.  

ShelterBox and LuminAID light

A ShelterBox employee demonstrates a branded LuminAID light

In addition to the Caribbean, LuminAID lights have been distributed with ShelterBox in other regions of the world including Peru, Somaliland, Syria, Malawi, and Bangladesh. Throughout this partnership, LuminAID was able to develop products that fulfilled the needs of the people that ShelterBox aided, while ShelterBox shared invaluable feedback about the needs on the ground to help make LuminAID lights even more suited for recipients. In addition to LuminAID's Give Light Program, partnerships with humanitarian organizations like ShelterBox drive the impact LuminAID has for communities without power around the world. 

Family with lantern.A family in Bangladesh gather near a LuminAID lantern distributed by ShelterBox