Stories

Shelter Depot: a marketplace powered by co-creation

Shelter Depot is a hardware store that treats refugees and displaced families as customers so they can build lives of wholeness and agency in the new country they are a part of.

BitterSweet Monthly

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In 2023, Alight embarked on an innovative co-creation journey by opening Shelter Depot in Uganda’s Bidibidi refugee camp. In collaboration with Every Shelter, we transformed a simple shipping container into a bustling marketplace designed by and for refugees and displaced people.

At Shelter Depot, creativity meets necessity by offering essential items based on direct community feedback. These products empower families to build safe, long-lasting homes.

BitterSweet Monthly

Our market is dedicated to making sustainability accessible with a variety of home improvement products and services. These include high-quality tools, solar panels, stoves, and agricultural tools—all affordably priced or available through a work-for-credit program. This program allows everyone the opportunity to contribute positively to the community, earning what they need through activities like planting trees or community maintenance.

We’re not just building homes; we’re nurturing independence and instilling self-confidence. Shelter Depot is a place where choices are made by those who matter most—the residents themselves.

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The migrants who arrive at this shelter have traveled for months—by bus, car, and often on foot. They’ve endured unimaginable hardships. Having an organized, dignified, and easy way to access these services helps them feel human again. It helps them feel whole.

If you want to learn more about the origins of Shelter Depot—along the people making it happen and the customers whose lives it’s touched—check out “We Are Here Many, Many Days” in BitterSweet Monthly.

BitterSweet Monthly

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