Shelter officers are humanitarian heroes

In times of crisis, when displaced individuals and families seek refuge, humanitarian shelter officers emerge as the unsung heroes. These dedicated professionals work tirelessly to provide essential shelter and support to refugees, ensuring their safety, dignity, and well-being. Let’s delve into the remarkable work they do and the impact they have on the lives of those affected by displacement.

Providing emergency shelter

Humanitarian shelter officers play a pivotal role in setting up emergency shelters for refugees. They assess the needs of the displaced population, identify suitable locations, and coordinate the construction or renovation of shelters. These officers ensure that the shelters are safe, secure, and able to withstand the harsh conditions faced by refugees.

Displaced people from Saint-Louis, Senegal, engage in the building of RHU shelters in 2019. ©UNOCHA/Aldi Diasse

Ensuring basic needs

Beyond providing shelter, shelter officers are responsible for addressing the basic needs of refugees. They coordinate the distribution of essential items such as blankets, mattresses, cooking utensils, and hygiene kits. By ensuring access to clean water, sanitation facilities, and electricity, they strive to create a sense of dignity and restore a familiar routine.

UNHCR staff offload a shipment of RHU shelters in Brazil, 2020. ©UNHCR/Allana Ferreira

Promoting community engagement

Humanitarian shelter officers understand the importance of community engagement in fostering resilience and social cohesion among refugees. They facilitate the establishment of community spaces where individuals can come together, share experiences, and support one another. These spaces often serve as platforms for educational programs, vocational training, and recreational activities, helping refugees rebuild their lives.

Volunteers work with local materials to install a Structure shelter school in Delhi, India, 2022. ©Sahiba Chawdhary

Humanitarian shelter officers work tirelessly to provide shelter, support, and hope to those in need. Through their dedication, compassion, and expertise, they help displaced people and families rebuild their lives and regain their sense of dignity.

On World Humanitarian Day, and everyday, we thank shelter officers for being humanitarian heroes!

“It is a humbling experience to be able to contribute to the rebuilding of communities and restoration of hope.”

Gautam Thakor, SEEDS

Shelter officers in action

Browse through our projects working with shelter officers around the world, providing safe and dignified shelters for the most vulnerable in displacement.

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