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The Medecins Sans Frontieres facility in Brussels has emergency shelters which can provide humanitarian relief around the world. The basic shelter is assembled quickly from a few poles, rope and some plastic sheeting, to provide shelter for a family for a few days. In the canvas medical tent, doctors carry out medical procedures quickly and hygienically. This can be assembled in 30 minutes from a kit of parts without using tools and is easily packed for transport across the world. The semi-permanent structure is designed to be made from different local materials such as timber, bamboo, plastic, corrugated iron or even bricks, with ingenious fastenings which use bottle tops and door hinges made from truck tyres.
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First broadcast:
23 March 2010

Classroom Ideas

This could be a discussion point about shelters found in the clip, where children could be asked to identify the purpose of each one, the materials used and the quantity of resources used in each of the shelters shown. The children could be asked to design and make a smaller version of either the basic shelter or the emergency shelter depending upon the ability of the children. As part of their Literacy work the children could write a set of instructions about how to make one of the three shelters shown in the clip.

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