While the March 11 natural disaster saw household names in the charity sector step forward, one relatively unknown and smaller British organization found its offerings very much in demand.

ShelterBox, set up by former search-and-rescue officer Tom Henderson, has provided aid and tents to about 1,600 families in the devastated Tohoku region.

The unique and simple idea, Henderson explains, is to give survivors everything they need to cope for up to six weeks in the form of a durable multiuse box.