Disaster relief charity inspires students

21st March 2014

The director of a disaster relief charity that has provided aid to the victims of the Tsunami and the hurricane in the Philippines has given business students at Sheffield Hallam University an insightful look into the way it deals with some of the world's biggest catastrophes.

The UK-based charity, ShelterBox, which is currently supporting nearly 6,000 families who were struck by hurricane Haiyan in the Philippines last year, is the subject of a case study developed by Sheffield Business School lecturer, Jamie Rundle and ShelterBox's director of operations, John Leach. The case study is now being used extensively to teach operations management and supply chain to business and management students across all levels. In a guest lecture to students last night, John spoke about the activities and challenges faced by the charity in relation to recent and on-going operations around the world. ShelterBox has helped more than one million people since it was founded in 2000 as a Rotary Club Millennium Project, and has deployed tens of thousands of its trademark green aid boxes and custom-made tents that are designed to protect against extreme temperatures, UV sunlight, high winds and heavy rain. "It's great learning for us to work with the University in this way as it allows us to reflect on what we've done," said John Leach. "We've had some really good feedback but it also gives us the opportunity to discuss ideas on how we can improve in the future. "All the disasters that we have attended have all been different and challenging and we have to be ready to make a rapid assessment, often within minutes, of what aid is going to be needed when we get the news through the alerts systems that we are signed up to." Senior lecturer, Jamie Rundle, who established the collaboration having taken a personal interest in the activities of the charity, said: "Using ShelterBox as a case study makes a nice alternative to looking at more corporate organisations. It's something a bit different and encourages the students to look at how different organisations within different sectors operate. It's working really well and the students are fascinated to hear about how a disaster relief organisation has to ramp up its activity on such an enormous scale without any prior warning." For press information: contact Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email pressoffice@shu.ac.uk

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