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History and Philosophy

In the early 1980s, a humanitarian disaster was looming in Central Asia. Years of unrest and civil war in Afghanistan followed by the Soviet invasion prompted more than 3 million people to flee to Pakistan, where they were left to vegetate in huge refugee camps. Images of the camps were broadcast around the world. A small group of Christians in different countries were so moved by what they saw that they decided to set up an aid organization for the refugees which they called Shelter Now. The founder was Douglas Layton.


The word “Shelter” in our organisational name literally means that—a house, a tent or a refuge. It arises from the command of Jesus that we are to “love our neighbour...” This additionally implies providing food, clothing and drinking water to the poor and needy as well as a roof over their heads. For almost 30 years we have assisted with humanitarian and developmental assistance in Pakistan and Afghanistan. We have provided emergency relief for war effected refugees as well as those who are victims of earthquakes, floods, drought and other natural disasters. We have provided reconstruction, rehabilitation and long term development co-operation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Conducting development aid in the Islamic world is particularly challenging for a Christian humanitarian aid organization. However, with many years of experience, familiarity with the local culture and a deep love for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, we have developed the necessary sensitivity to carry out the work that we do.

Shelter Now is an international organization
Handing out food items to the needy

... with its coordinating office in Braunschweig, Germany. Shelter Now is represented in the Netherlands, Britain, USA, and Australia, as registered charities.

Udo Stolte, the Director of SN Germany, is based in Braunschweig. He is married, has 4 children and has been involved in the work of Shelter since the beginning, later giving up his job as a teacher to enter the work full-time. He has made repeated trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Georg Taubmann, from southern Germany, oversees the work of SNI as the International Director. He is married to Marianne and has 2 children. He originally trained as a nurse. He lived with his family for 16 years in Pakistan and 8 years in Afghanistan.

The work in Pakistan was going on for more than 30 years. In 2015 we closed it down. We started to work among "IS" refugees in North-Iraq-Kurdistan instead.

The work in Afghanistan is lead by Mayli Tourn from Uruguay.

Some 20 international staff are involved in Shelter Now projects in both countries along with a varying number of Afghan and Pakistani employees.

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