BetterShelter.org Provides Improved Housing for Refugees

As conflicts rage in various parts of the world, massive amounts of people are displaced. Around 21 million people are currently living as refugees, and over half can be found in just 10 countries: Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Given that only 2.5 percent of the global GDP comes from these nations, a plurality of foreign aid strategies needs to be funded and implemented to ensure that refugees can survive and one day regain control of their lives. One such strategy is developing innovative, cost-effective, comfortable and sustainable shelters to house refugees.

For all people, shelter is a basic survival need, and a great many refugees need better shelter than they currently have. The simple canvas tents used to house many refugees are prone to damage from floods, fires and high winds.

BetterShelter.org delivers its shelters in cardboard boxes, and each shelter only takes about four people to assemble. All shelters are designed to be built by hand. They have sturdy steel frames covered by insulated walls and ceiling materials. Solar panels are installed to generate electricity that can be utilized for anything from providing light to charging electronic devices. In addition to these elements, safety features like mosquito netting and locking doors are now available.

Last year, BetterShelter.org provided housing for 10,000 families across the globe, and the organization hopes to enlarge that number this year. Thanks to a partnership with IKEA and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), its goals looks achievable.

Refugees are forced to leave behind their homes, jobs, schools and dreams to flee dangerous circumstances. It is up to those that have plenty to aid those who have little. Efforts to provide better shelters for refugees need generous support if they are to continue improving the lives of people without a place to call home.

Aaron Walsh

Photo: Flickr