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On Wednesday 13 March, Year 12 Geography students were treated to an inspirational talk from Hugh Deed and Liz Odell, from ShelterBox. Students heard about the work of this charity; an organisation founded by a Rotary Club in SW England, which sends emergency relief to disaster zones worldwide. We heard about how this aid is distributed, often in very challenging situations, to countries that have suffered from floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and conflict.

Students were shown one of the boxes that are given to families in need, which contains essential items such as a tent, cooking utensils, torches, water filtration devices and more. Students were able to see video clips of this aid being used in locations such as Haiti and the Philippines. This tied in really nicely with the ‘Natural Hazards’ topic that students have been studying, and really developed students’ appreciation of how foreign aid can make a huge difference to the populations of Low Income Countries.

Liz Odell, a Shelter Box Response Team volunteer, gave a brilliant insight into what it’s like to be sent to manage the distribution of this aid in the days following a disaster. She spoke about her time in several countries including Haiti, which tied in nicely with students’ case study about this earthquake which they will use in their exams. Students also heard how challenging it can be to gain permission to go to certain countries, such as the Congo, for political reasons.
We all very much enjoyed seeing this ‘Geography in action’, with some students now considering potential volunteering opportunities and careers in disaster relief. A huge thanks to Hugh and Liz for giving up their time to give us an insight into the excellent work that Shelter Box does around the world, and to extend students’ understanding of responses to disasters.

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