Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ

Every Shelter is based in Houston, TX USA, with a new location in Kampala, Uganda. While the majority of our work is currently focused in the Bidi Bidi and Nakivale refugee camps in Uganda, Every Shelter has done work all over the world including, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
There are many refugee related organizations focused on every aspect of the larger ecosystem. Every Shelter is specifically focused on a few critical issues within the larger ecosystem, specific to the production and distribution of shelter-related provisions, goods, and services. We are working to build a system where shelter goods and services are re-localized, and made and performed by refugees. In other words, shelter goods, made for and by refugees, sold to other refugees.
We recommend everyone check out the UNHCR Website. This website has the definitions and global standards for refugee and displacement related information.
The most helpful thing for an organization of our size is predictable, stable funding. Even small amounts of money given on a predictable basis help us manage planning, expenses, strategy, and budgets.

We’d love for you to join our monthly donor giving community, called, The Haven, as the most practical way you could help us advance our mission.
Please email us! You can reach our team at info@everyshelter.org and we will be in touch with you within 72 hours!

What are some good reading recommendations for me to learn more?

1 // WHAT IS A REFUGEE?, Amazon, written and illustrated by Elise Gravel, is an accessible picture book that oh-so-simply and graphically introduces the term “refugee” to curious young children to help them better understand the world in which they live.

2 // LUBNA AND PEBBLE, Amazon, the unforgettable story of a young girl who, upon arriving at a refugee camp, picks up a pebble on the beach that quickly becomes a great source of comfort to her. But when little Amir arrives at the camp alone and scared, Lubna will have to decide if she can share her little, sturdy friend with him. With stunning illustrations, Wendy Meddour immerses us in a beautiful story about friendship and resilience.

3 // WE ARE DISPLACED, Amazon, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and New York Times bestselling author Malala Yousafzai introduces the people behind the statistics and news stories about the millions of people displaced worldwide.

4 // NOWHERE BOY, Amazon, Set against the backdrop of the Syrian refugee crisis, award-winning author Katherine Marsh delivers a gripping, heartwarming story of resilience, friendship, and everyday heroes.
5 // SOOLEY: A NOVEL, Amazon, John Grisham takes you to a different kind of court in his first basketball novel. Samuel “Sooley” Sooleymon is a raw, young talent with big hoop dreams—and even bigger challenges off the court.

6 // WHAT IS THE WHAT, Amazon, an epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children —the so-called Lost Boys—was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. Moving, suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny, What Is the What is an astonishing novel that illuminates the lives of millions through one extraordinary man.
7 // REFUGE: TRANSFORMING A BROKEN REFUGEE SYSTEM, Amazon, Alexander Betts and Paul Collier show that this crisis offers an opportunity for reform if international policy-makers focus on delivering humane, effective, and sustainable outcomes – both for Europe and for countries that border conflict zones. Refugees need more than simply food, tents, and blankets, and research demonstrates that they can offer tangible economic benefits to their adopted countries if given the right to work and education. Refuge sets out an alternative vision that can empower refugees to help themselves, contribute to their host societies, and even rebuild their countries of origin.

8 // THE WEALTH OF REFUGEES: HOW DISPLACED PEOPLE CAN BUILD ECONOMIES, Amazon, Alexander Betts argues that the key lies in unlocking the potential contributions of refugees themselves. Refugees bring skills, talents, and aspirations and can be a benefit rather than a burden to receiving societies. Realizing this potential relies upon moving beyond a purely humanitarian focus to fully include refugees in host-country economies, build economic opportunities in refugee-hosting regions, and navigate the ambiguous politics of refugee protection.

9 // THOSE WE THROW AWAY ARE DIAMONDS by Mondiant Dogan, Amazon, A stunning and heartbreaking lens on the global refugee crisis, from a man who faced the very worst of humanity and survived to advocate for displaced people around the world.

10 // UNPREPARED: SHARING TEA INSIDE THE TENTS OF MORIA, an immersive and introspective look into Europe’s most controversial refugee camp in Greece. This tea table book is a collection of creative writing, stories, and photographs that bring you face-to-face with the reality of what asylum seekers experience living in Moria refugee camp, through the eyes of two western women who volunteer there. It sits you down for tea in the middle of the chaos and introduces you to the heart of Moria in a way you would least expect.

We use cookies on our website to personalize your experience and improve our efforts. By continuing, you agree to the terms of our Privacy Policy.

We use cookies to enhance your experience. Privacy Policy.

Noella Kabale Kalu

Advisory Board Member

Kampala, Uganda

Noella Kabale Kalu is a Congolese by nationality, living in Uganda as a refugee registered in the urban setting since 2011. She is the founder of REAL Uganda and Refugee Women Voices, a member of the Refugee-led Network (RELON), Refugee Representative at the CRRF steering working group. She aspires to build a society where women, men, and young females are treated with dignity, fairness, and respect, regardless of their status & and vulnerable conditions they find themselves in due to war, conflict, or other atrocities.

Andy Agaba

Advisory Board Member

Kampala, Uganda

Andy Agaba is a Praxis Fellow and the founder of Hiinga, a Christian Impact Investing Fund working across a spectrum of sectors including healthcare, financial services, education, agriculture, and manufacturing in East Africa. He graduated from Harvard Kennedy School where he was a Gleitsman Innovation Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership. At Uganda's Makerere University, he was a Poli sci major. Andy advises at the MIT Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship and is an award-winning documentary photographer.

Marie Nyiraneza

Advisory Board Member

Nakivale, Uganda

Marie is a Social Worker, currently working with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) as a Community Paralegal in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, and Interpreter for Refugee Resettlement Programs. Marie is a refugee from Rwanda and has lived in Nakivale Refugee Settlement since 2008. She holds a Bachelor in Social Work and a CEFE Licence for Entrepreneurship Trainer. She is passionate about contributing to the improvement of refugee livelihoods and is also a Master Trainer for the MarketPlace Literacy Program in Nakivale.

Sam Brisendine

Co-Founder and Board Member

Houston, Texas

As a designer from the private sector, I'm passionate about ideas that improve the lives of those in need. My experience designing buildings, products, and art has taught me an important lesson: The most meaningful work is produced when partners work hand-in-hand on a common mission. Over the past 5 years, I've watched Every Shelter transform from an academic pursuit to working (and learning) alongside world-class organizations to design solutions that bring dignity to displaced communities. I have never been more proud of the work we're doing and look forward to seeing how we can continue to collaborate to solve the challenges ahead.

Stefanie Cortez

Communications Specialist

Dallas, Texas

At Every Shelter I have the unique opportunity to use two passions in my life, mathematics and parenting, in one position. As a mathematician, I appreciate effective, elegant, and well-developed solutions to a problem. As a mom of two little ones, I also know the importance of sharing the stories, challenges, and successes of my life with my kids and others. As Communications Specialist for Every Shelter, I have the opportunity to inform the public about innovative designs as well as share the stories of people who are resolutely rebuilding their lives in new communities and countries despite overwhelming challenges. I believe that every person who reads about our work has the ability to impact people’s lives across the globe as they follow along with the journey to help people rebuild their lives from the floor up.

Lauren Hanson

Development Officer

Houston, Texas

As a mother to two young children, I cannot imagine the fear and despair I would feel if I was forced to leave the comfort of my home and community. The fact that this is a growing reality for so many people around our world is truly heartbreaking. I believe our compassion can make a significant impact in the lives of these displaced populations. As Melinda Gates writes, “Philanthropy is not about the money. It’s about using whatever resources you have at your fingertips and applying them to improving the world.” Therefore, it is my privilege to mobilize people to make a global impact with their time, gifts, and resources through partnering with Every Shelter as we labor to bring better provisions and life dignifying solutions to forcefully displaced populations.

Loise Wambui

Program Coordinator

Kampala, Uganda

I am deeply committed to advocating for joint solutions to economic and social development issues. I consider myself a global citizen with cross-cultural experience working as an economist in Eswatini, a Girl Scout volunteer in rural Switzerland, and teaching in Mathare, one of Kenya's largest slums. My desire to work towards dignified shelter solutions for vulnerable people started while working in Mathare Slums. Four years later, I am now working with and for refugees in Uganda. I have loved using my many abilities in this new sector, and my favorite thing has been working with local small enterprises and refugee organizations to sew the tarps! As someone conscious of how my own actions affect the wider community, I am always learning new ways to help make things a little better.

Nicole Iman

Co-Founder and CPO

Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

I’ve been traveling the globe in development-related pursuits for more than 20 years, working with people throughout the varied stages of displacement. During my tenure in Afghanistan, I saw first-hand the challenges my Afghan colleagues faced that caused them to flee for their lives. While studying in northern Uganda, I met families struggling through years of displacement despite multiple attempts to return home. Through volunteer resettlement work in the US, I welcomed resettled refugees hoping to rebuild their lives in a new place while mourning the loss of friends and family they left behind. I am keenly aware of the human tendency to look at images of displaced people and refugees and immediately categorize them as “other.” Through joining Every Shelter, I have the chance to share stories that can change that category to “one another” and help us work together toward dignified, human-centered solutions.

Scott Key

Co-Founder and CEO

Houston, Texas

The process of designing new approaches and solutions to grave issues drives me. I believe the private sector and its vast reserves of professional skills and resources can fruitfully add to the productivity of ongoing humanitarian efforts to create a more just and merciful society. We all have a responsibility to do our part, but I firmly believe that in giving of ourselves we receive far more back than we give. Wendell Berry writes, “life is a gift we have only by giving it back again.” As a father of two young daughters, I want to model the intelligent, diligent, and hard-working compassion toward our neighbor to which I believe we are all obliged. It’s urgent and important work that we do.