Our Work

On average, refugees are away from “home” for decades. The reality is they need to create home in a new land. Home is safety. Home is happiness. Home is memories. We help refugees create home.

100 million people are displaced. Many will stay displaced for over two decades on average.

They need good shelter. They need choice. They need access to work.
We’re on a mission to create an ecosystem by refugees and for refugees.

We’ve been working in this industry for over a decade. We’ve designed specific interventions like Emergency Floor and Bashe Bora tarp.

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Settlements Served
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Individuals Served
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Tons of Platic Repurposed

Every Shelter has developed a comprehensive approach to the complex nature of refugee aid. We believe in the refugee – their humanity, their wholeness, and every person’s right to have a home. We are building solutions to empower refugees for lasting, generational impact.

We are going to make a whole new refugee-aid system, one that actually works for refugees.

Our mission is to build a localized refugee-aid ecosystem centered around the needs, preferences, and aspirations of refugees.

Current State Today

  • Refugees seen as foreigners
  • Shelter manufacturing in far away factories
  • Distribution of goods by bureaucracies
  • Needs of refugees are hypothesized and reduced to global averages.

A Better Way for Tomorrow

  • Refugees seen as good neighbors
  • Shelter goods produced in every refugee camp
  • Healthy local markets
  • Products designed, made by, and for refugees

Stability

Imagine for a moment, you’ve made the hardest decision of your life to leave everything behind to be safe. You’ve fled from bombings, or a militant group, or persecution from your government. You don’t know when you’ll return home if ever.

You need a good home. A place to feel safe.

Across the world, regardless of their specific family needs, refugees are given three things for their decades long camping experience: a structure, a bad tarp, and a dirt floor. This simply isn’t good enough. Refugees need homes; good homes. Without a safe, clean, healthy environment, no one can build a good life.

Agency

Imagine for a moment that every time it rains, your roof leaks. In fact, just last night during a storm a leak opened up soaking your newborn in her bed. But you can’t get anything or anyone to help you. A group came by the other day hoping to help, but they handed you a water container - the 13th your family now owns.

This is a glimpse into the current refugee aid system.

Everyone has unique needs and choice turns out to be the best way to solve shelter problems. We will build retail stores in camps; goods, training, & tool rentals.

Opportunity

Imagine for a moment that you’ve fled from your home for safety to a new country. That means you’ve left not just your things and your neighbors behind, but also your job - your means of supporting yourself and your family. You’ve fled to a place that treats you with anonymity and suspicion. Locals often think you’re there to take their jobs.

Creating unique, good jobs for refugees is a critical way to allow refugees to rebuild their lives.

Refugees are often excluded from the traditional economies in their host countries, but creating jobs serving other refugees is a brilliant way to support themselves and their communities.

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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.