Darla Skolnekovich is an inventor—and a mother. She says that when she looks into the eyes of the world’s refugees, she sees her own daughter Sadie looking back. Concern for the victims of traumatic displacement—homelessness caused by disastrous events—gave Mrs. Skolnekovich an idea.
There are about 28 million people in the world currently displaced from their homes due to natural disasters and war. Mrs. Skolnekovich believes anyone could experience a need for immediate, secure, emergency housing. That’s what prompted her to design the Sadie Shelter.
The Sadie Shelter is a type of temporary housing. It can be set up without tools of any kind. Waterproof, fire-resistant, reinforced cardboard panels interlock to hold the structure together. Once connected, users can fill spaces in the wall panels with sand, gravel, or dry soil. This gives insulation and weight. The finished hut won’t blow over even in high winds.
Canvas tents are the norm for emergency shelter around the world. But those tents offer little real protection. Much of the time, the needy are women and children. Tents can’t do much to keep out dangerous people who might further victimize the vulnerable. The Sadie Shelter addresses that situation. It has a locking door and walls so solid a rifle bullet could not penetrate them. Mrs. Skolnekovich even thinks her invention could be useful for soldiers deployed in war zones. Recreationally, the little houses might entice sportsmen who camp or ice fish.
Mrs. Skolnekovich has a goal: to provide “security, shelter, and sanitation for the traumatically displaced.” She wants to get 200 of her shelters to the Red Cross or other relief organizations. Those groups can distribute them to individuals in need.
Without the protection of substantial covering, life can be scary and dangerous. It’s hard for us to imagine what living without our homes would be like. The scriptures recognize our need for security and shelter. Throughout the Psalms and the book of Isaiah, God’s people call out for shelter, and He promises to give it. Revelation 7:15 gives a picture of God himself as the eternal shelter for His people.
In hard times, remember that God promises never to forsake His people. His word gives us confidence in where our safety truly lies. But God knows that we have material needs too. The Sadie Shelter may be one of the ways He is working to provide mercifully for those needs.