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With Millions Displaced, ShelterBox Has Essential Relief For Nepal

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Thirty days ago, when I scheduled this interview with Alan Monroe, the Interim Executive Director of ShelterBox USA, this was intended to be a standard profile of a social entrepreneur making a difference in the world. Then an earthquake hit in Nepal and changed everything.

Shelterbox is one of many organizations providing relieve to Nepal, where I happened to spend a week volunteering, just six weeks ago.

With millions displaced from their damaged or destroyed homes, shelter is an acute need in Nepal. With millions displaced from their damaged or destroyed homes, shelter is an acute need in Nepal.

Monroe explained, “On average, ShelterBox deploys to a country every other week. Many [deployments] never hit the news cycle. Whether it be the major disasters like the Haiti earthquake or the Indian Ocean Tsunami that capture America’s attention or the flooding in small villages on the banks of the Amazon, ShelterBox is there.”

Alan Monroe, ShelterBox

“Our primary focus is the beneficiary and their needs during an incredibly trying time of their life. I was in Indonesia after a volcano eruption and we had just set up an aid camp for 100 families who had no place to go. As I was checking the lines and the setup of the tents, I looked inside and saw the families looking through the box. I can remember one child picking up the stuffed bear and smiling. About that time, the father came out and grabbed me by my arm and said ‘Thank you, Thank you’ in Indonesian. It hit me, that this piece of equipment had already become their home–just like that,” he concluded.

On Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at noon Eastern, Monroe will join me for a live discussion about ShelterBox and its relief efforts in Nepal. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Tweet questions in advance to @devindthorpe.

More about ShelterBox:

ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that provides emergency shelter and supplies to families made homeless as a result of disaster and humanitarian crises. Since ShelterBox was founded, we have responded to over 240 disasters and humanitarian crises in more than 90 different countries and provided emergency aid for well over one million people. ShelterBox aid is tailored to a disaster but typically includes a disaster relief tent for a family, thermal blankets and groundsheets, water storage and purification equipment, solar lamps, cooking utensils, a basic tool kit, mosquito nets and children’s activity pack.

Monroe’s bio:

Alan Monroe is the Interim Executive Director of ShelterBox USA, Inc., providing leadership to the U.S. affiliate of the rapidly growing international disaster relief organization. 

Alan first discovered ShelterBox at the International Rotary Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2007. Drawn to ShelterBox’s mission of providing shelter, warmth and dignity to people impacted by disasters, Alan immediately recognized that his Eagle Scout and other life experiences had groomed him to become a ShelterBox Response Team TISI -4.13% member. As a response team member, Alan delivers aid to families in need and has deployed following disasters in the U.S., Peru, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Taiwan, Haiti, Guatemala and Indonesia. 

Alan’s prior experience includes serving as a Marketing Director for a large heating and air company, Online Sales Manager for a daily newspaper and partner in a company that built aerial maps of state forests.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Spanish Language from Flagler College and his Master of Arts in International Affairs from Florida State University. Monroe lives in Sarasota, Florida with his wife, Casey.

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