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Disaster Aid UK and Ireland has its origins in the Rotary Emergency Box. The idea of a Rotary Emergency Box was conceived in the then Rotary District 105 (now 1050) by the late Arthur Bowker. Arthur was a founder member of the Rotary Club of Manchester South, a past president of the Dukinfield and Stalybridge club, a member at that time of the Ashton-under Lyne club and a member of the District International Committee.
Arthur recognised that there were people affected by all kinds of natural disasters around the world who had lost everything they owned. Provision of a few very basic things quickly would help these people survive. He also knew that Rotary was a huge force for good with a global reach. The concept of a Rotary box with contents for survival was born. The concept was taken to Rotary District Assembly in 1971 and adopted by Rotary International of Great Britain & Ireland in 1974.
From 1975 to 2002, more than 30,000 Emergency Boxes were shipped around the world.
In 2002, the decision was taken to change the contents from a selection of new or second-hand items to a standard set of new items. This was because the inconsistency in the contents of the box often caused problems at customs and did not always meet the requirements of the recipients. This meant that instead of clubs packing the boxes, we packed them ourselves and the costs of the contents and shipping the filled boxes were met by donations. To emphasis this major change, the name of the box was changed to “LifeBox” although this name is still owned today by the Rotary Emergency Box Trust.
In 2010 we were asked to join fellow Rotarians in Disaster Aid USA and Disaster Aid Australia as founding members of Disaster Aid International. The pooling of our respective resources and expertise inevitably resulted in an organisation that now has a significant impact on disaster relief.
Mission Under Rotary
Each country partner of Disaster Aid International is sponsored by a specific Rotary club. In the case of Disaster Aid UK & Ireland, the sponsoring club is Denton and Audenshaw. Working together within an international context, Disaster Aid International is accordingly recognised by Rotary International.
Rotary International is the world’s first service club organisation and has global cover. It currently has 1.2 million members in 34,000 clubs across more than 200 countries worldwide.
Rotary club members form a global network of men and women from all walks of life who volunteer their time and talents to serve their local communities and to help those less fortunate around the world. Their ethos is exemplified by Rotary’s motto “Service Above Self”. Their activities are governed by the “Four –Way Test”:
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?