Celebrating in style: Sponsored birthday skydive for ShelterBox

A young man from Sudan, who moved to Scotland last year, has celebrated his 18th birthday by jumping out of an aeroplane to raise funds for the international disaster relief charity, ShelterBox. 

After receiving a skydiving voucher for his birthday, Rabee decided to turn the occasion into a fundraiser – supporting people left without shelter after disaster or conflict. 

The charity has a special meaning to Rabee as his family has received its support.

Rabee is currently living in Stirlingshire with his foster carer, Fiona. He said:

“I am happy to be living in Scotland and I have made new friends. But I miss my family and my home in Sudan.” 

After being uprooted from their home because of conflict, his relatives are now living in the neighbouring country of Chad, where ShelterBox is supporting displaced families with emergency shelter aid. 

ShelterBox has worked in Chad several times since 2018, supporting some of the millions of people displaced by conflict in Sudan. In its latest project, ShelterBox has worked alongside partner, INTERSOS Tchad, to support people with tents, tarpaulins and rope, and provide other essential items like mosquito nets, kitchen sets, and water carriers. 

Since arriving in the UK in 2023, Rabee has been studying English and sports at school. Aspiring to be a youth coach, he is currently gaining skills to run sports groups with a local charity that supports children in physical activity. Rabee also plays for his local football team. 

Despite being postponed twice due to bad weather Rabee completed his skydive with Fiona and her family accompanying him.  

He said:

“The skydive was fun and not scary. I am happy to raise money for ShelterBox.” 

Fiona added:

“A large group of us went to cheer him on. We watched him come into land and you could see on his face afterwards just how much he enjoyed the experience!

“It’s amazing to see the support Rabee has received for his challenge. He’s determined to raise as much money as he can for ShelterBox. 

“Having him with us is such a pleasure and it’s so wonderful to see him settling in and making new friends. It’s tough for him to be far away from his family and home, but he still stays smiling and determined to learn and grow. I’m so proud of him.” 

So far, Rabee has raised over £1,200 for the charity and donations can still be given through his JustGiving page. This will help support the charity’s response in Chad, and around the world. 

Community Fundraising Officer at ShelterBox, Louisa Arnold, said:

“We rely solely on public donations, so it’s people like Rabee, fundraising and sharing their reasons for doing so, that enable us to continue supporting people uprooted from their homes.  

“The reality is that millions of families are pulled apart every year due to conflict and disaster. It reminds us how important it is to spread awareness of the issues people are facing, and what we can do to play our part in supporting communities around the world.” 

As well as supporting people in Chad who have been displaced from their homes in Sudan, ShelterBox is responding in Gaza to support some of the 1.7 million people who have been affected by the conflict. The charity is working with local partners to support thousands of people with tents, and essential items like sleeping mats, blankets and water carriers.  

The charity is also supporting people affected by disaster and conflict in Burkina Faso, Malawi, Ethiopia, and Syria.  

To find out more about where ShelterBox is working or how to get involved, people can visit: shelterbox.org.