Providing protection and refuge

Shelter Now, the Christian relief organization for refugees and people in need!

About Shelter

The English word “shelter” stands for the philosophy of our relief organization: Christian charity means giving food and drink to the poorest and a roof over their heads and thus a shelter: hope. We have been providing humanitarian aid in Afghanistan and Pakistan for 37 years: emergency aid for war refugees and earthquake victims, reconstruction in Afghanistan and long-term development projects. The work in Pakistan has been ended for the time being since 2015. Instead, we have started aid projects for refugees in northern Iraq-Kurdistan.

Food distribution in extremely cold winters

Shelter Image Film

The film gives an overview of Shelter Now’s humanitarian work since the early 1980s.

Time: 4:47 minutes

Geschichte & Philosophy – Für die Menschen in Afghanistan, Pakistan und Kurdistan

In the early 80s...

In the early 1980s, a humanitarian catastrophe was looming in the Middle East: After years of civil war and the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet troops, more than three million people fled to Pakistan. They vegetated there in huge refugee camps. These images went around the world and moved a small group of committed Christians in Germany and other countries to such an extent that they decided to found an aid organisation for the refugees: Shelter Now. The founder was Douglas Layton. From 1984 Georg Taubmann was the deputy director and from 1990 the director of the whole work.

The name “Shelter” – or “refuge” – also testifies to the philosophy of the international aid organisation: Christian charity also means giving the poorest of the poor food and drink and a roof over their heads. In the meantime, Shelter Now can look back on 37 years of humanitarian work: from emergency aid for war refugees and disaster victims to reconstruction, e.g. in Afghanistan, to long-term development projects.

Development work in Islamic countries is a special challenge for a Christian organisation. Due to our many years of experience, Shelter Now is very familiar with the country’s culture. This is why we can implement projects with the necessary sensitivity. Shelter Now sees itself as a Christian humanitarian aid organisation. The employees treat the people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kurdistan with respect and work together with them at eye level for a future worth living.

The work on site - Humanitarian work according to the need

Shelter Now was founded in the late seventies. At that time, the invasion of Soviet troops in Afghanistan caused the largest refugee movement in the world. Several million Afghan refugees lived in the region of the border city of Peshawar in Pakistan. Shelter Now was registered as an international relief organization in 1983, distributing food, drinking water, milk and other relief supplies to many thousands of families and building emergency shelters and soup kitchens for them.

In the refugee camps, Shelter Now built clinics, schools, wells and widows’ houses, among other things. This work took many years, because until Afghanistan’s liberation from the Taliban regime in 2001, war and oppression led to repeated streams of refugees to Pakistan.

Afghanistan: Help for the returned refugees

Shelter Now has been working in Afghanistan since 1988 and has been officially registered there by the changing governments since 1992. The relief organization built several cement factories, which mainly produce roofing material for the reconstruction of residential buildings. So that also a normal family can build itself a house, the material is delivered particularly low-priced, sometimes also free of charge. Renewing the destroyed irrigation systems and establishing a center for the street children of Kabul are other important projects of Shelter Now in these years.

In 2001, 24 Shelter Now employees, including four Germans, were arrested and accused. The Reproach: Spreading the christian faith. The arrest soon turned out to be a hostage-taking by the Taliban regime. With this drastic step, it wanted to counter the US threat of war after the attacks of September 11. In November, the employees were freed from hostage-taking in a dramatic action.

Shelter Now has been working in Afghanistan again since summer 2002. In the meantime, some villages of hope have been built for returning refugees, as well as several schools, also for girls. In Kabul a destroyed eye clinic was rebuilt together with partners. There the organization has also adopted a center for the deaf where children and adults are taught and trained for a profession. In northern Afghanistan, Shelter Now runs a school for English and computer courses and maintains drinking water production projects, in the west of the country a modern dental clinic and agricultural projects in several regions.

Länderinformation Afghanistan

state form: Islamic Republic
population: 36,02 Mio.
highest point: 7.492 m
life expectency: 64,5 years
Average age: 18,4 years
illiterate men: 48%
illiterate woman: 75,8%
birth mortality: 3rd highest in the world

Stand 2019

Pakistan: Emergency aid and rebuilding after earthquake and historic flood
After the great earthquake disaster in northern Pakistan on October 8, 2005, Shelter Now distributed winter equipment to 12,500 families with tents, or transitional shelters made of wood and corrugated iron, with mattresses, warm quilts, stoves and floor tarpaulins. In this way, Shelter Now was able to help more than 75,000 people through the winter. In a tent village, the organization provided 10,000 homeless people with a daily warm meal in winter 2005/2006.

We were also participating in the reconstruction of the destroyed region and built 25 earthquake-proof schools. We are also helping earthquake victims to rebuild their homes through training in earthquake-resistant construction methods.

The great flood in summer 2010 made hundreds of thousands of people homeless again. We are also involved in the flooded area with far-reaching projects: daily hot meals for up to 4000 people, cooking and kitchen utensils for thousands of families, water treatment, clothing, reconstruction of flood-proof houses, home furnishings and more.


Since autumn 2014, we have been supporting people who have fled from the terrorist militias of the “Islamic State” to the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq. We give them food, hygiene articles and other essential items. 

How does my donation help?

Millions of people in Afghanistan and Kurdistan look back on a life of fear and hardship. Many still suffer from the consequences of war, displacement and natural disasters.

With your donation you help to alleviate this need. You give people a roof over their heads, a new home. Donate a warm meal so that these people can get through the next cold winter without fear of freezing or starving to death. Your donation enables a child to attend school and opens up job opportunities. With your contribution you give hope for a more carefree life.

Fun with donating – information for donors or those who want to become donors.

Donating increases the democratic possibilities of the individual to exert influence.

Donors are different, they are not satisfied with the status quo. Through their actions they signal awareness and commitment. Their help shows that they want to change the situation. Donors are the feet of democracy – they make a difference. They make use of the opportunities for shaping society. Beyond elections and political decisions, donors influence real life.

Donation scandals get into the media especially at the end of the year. But fortunately these are individual cases, which in Germany alone are confronted by about 40,000 non-governmental organizations with good work.

Donate effectively

Donors have an influence on the effectiveness of their donation: if someone wants to donate e.g. 250 Euros in one year and distributes this amount among ten organizations, an administrative process (accounting, issuing and sending a donation receipt, sending information material) must be financed ten times. On the other hand, if you donate the total amount to one organization, there is only one processing. If this amount is collected by direct debit, the administrative costs are reduced even more.

Those who want to donate particularly effectively should pay attention to the following:

  • Donate continuously,
  • without earmarking,
  • to the same organizations over a longer period of time,
  • with complete address information on the remittance slip and
  • preferably by direct debit authorization.
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