P&G Shelter Design

At Purpose and Growth, we are passionate about the future. The future of the world, the future of the environment, and the future of the people who live in it. We are a not-for-profit organization based in Australia who strives to provide equitable and economical resources to communities in need during disaster situations. P&G produces sustainable paper tubes that can be used to build shelters and other buildings for communities when previous infrastructure has been damaged or is no longer safe to use. Our team has stepped up during the current pandemic by providing communities with the tools they need to expand hospital capacity, build mobile testing sites, and create Personal Protective Equipment. P&G also prides itself for hiring individuals who are underserved, primarily refugees and asylum seekers.


This summer, one of P&G’s interns who resides in Minnesota, has helped execute a shelter design to be used for increasing hospital capacity. The shelter is made of paper tubes, 3D printed joints, and a standard tarp to ensure protection from the elements. This intern and a friend of hers, used P&G’s shelter designs to set up the prototype in her backyard for the first time. These untrained participants remarked, candidly, “I am shocked at how quick and easy it was to build something that I know could be used for so many other purposes. A Lego set is more confusing to build than this shelter!” Building the shelter is simple but also economical as each shelter room ranges from $162-$210, which is almost $120 less than the UN’s standard HCR designs. 


The purpose of this shelter is to provide healthcare workers the space they need to safely take care of patients inside or outside hospitals. With an increase to the amount of COVID-19 patients in the U.S., these shelters can greatly improve the resources that our frontline workers have access to during the current pandemic. 


Our Intern, Maddy Morgen, has been working with P&G since the beginning of May to help build and test this shelter. Her goal is to help P&G connect with governments, hospitals, or organizations in the U.S. who would be willing to use these designs to expand hospital capacity and help provide resources that ensure safety to frontline-workers and patients. Maddy is an International relations & Global Affairs major at Eckerd College located in St.Petersburg, Florida. She is from Minnetonka, Minnesota and resides here during the summers with her family. 


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Buy a facemask and employ some of our most disadvantaged


Your donations will provide meaningful work to one of our newest Australians, those overlooked in our communities with refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.

Some of the sewers that we have worked with for some time have set up their own sites to sell masks.  By buying through them you can select a design you like, and a sewer you may particularly want to support their sites are below.

We hope to add more soon, so please check back later. We are still taking orders on behalf of others who have not worked as much with us.

Each masks costs $20 to produce, inspect, and ship, minimum of two. Please specify in the comments if you’d like us to give away a certain number of masks to the needy on your behalf. We are a not-for-profit, so our approach is to minimise materials and transport costs in order maximise the amount that goes to those sewing the face masks.


  • Masks kept for personal use are generally not tax deductible, but donations to our nonprofit are. Consult a tax-professional with your invoice if you need help determining how much you can deduct.

  • All masks are made to DHHS standards, for full details see here

  • Current lead time is 2-3 weeks

  • For customisations or questions reach out to facemasks@pgpurpose.org

It’s Refugee Week 2020!

Written by Emma Sheridan


It’s Refugee Week (and World Refugee Awareness Month) and we are celebrating the “Year of Welcome”. For all of us, this year has proven that we are resilient, adaptable and welcoming of change within our lives.

Although we’re still confined to our own homes, we can continue to embrace a sense of unity and harmony by sharing stories with one another, diving into thought-provoking discussions, and creating and hosting a virtual movie event!

Remember, you can watch and cook alongside people from refugee backgrounds as they share wonderful dishes from their homes, explain their significance by joining part in the Refugee Week 2020’s, “Share a Meal, Share a Story” initiative with SBS Food Online at https://share-a-meal.raisely.com/

And that’s not all – for the rest of Refugee Week, we will be sharing the incredible stories of the refugees who we employ here at P&G Paper Tubes.

From their favourite foods to what they enjoy most on the job, be sure to stay tuned for snippets of these interviews in the coming days!

For more resources, check out:

Refugee Week Resources

We’ll look forward to celebrating with you in the days and weeks ahead!

Medical Facility in a Shipping Container

 Written by Nick Corman

In a previous post, we shared a few details about the development of our first mobile testing center.  It’s well-known that production and deployment of medical facilities to most parts of the world, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, is insufficient. P&G Purpose seeks to participate in helping create global solutions through smarter medical production design.

P&G has partnered with Robert Barnstone, a Harvard-educated Sydney-based architect, to create a new type of purpose-built testing and medical station — packable entirely within a standard global shipping container.

Today we’re taking a closer look at these centers and describing some of the design and core functionality they provide.

The facility itself offers 250 sq ft of available space with three core zones: a lab/office area, a service deck, and clean up area. It has an incorporated water pump for fresh/waste water and includes a fully functional knee-operated sink. The unit contains a lab bench, computer station, and pharmaceutical cabinetry space; PPE changing area; electrical breaker panel, power points, generator, air conditioner and heater; and is freestanding with front and side vestibules.

The medical facility has interior shelving space to store basic medical supplies and necessary PPE and first-line pharmaceuticals.

Designed to maximize space, the container opens up to allow for an extended outside entryway that also serves as a shaded enclosure.

The knee-operated sink connects to available fresh and waste water provisions.

The facility itself can be entirely packed and unpacked and placed within a shipping container to allow it to track alongside existing shipping lines.

Once connected to electricity, the container contains air-conditioning so that it can function in all climates.

The facility was designed with testing and treatment in mind, and contains areas for secure and safe specimen collection as well as containers to discard used equipment.

Inside the shipping container, medical staff can provide consultations, administer needed treatment, and provide first-line care.

The three zones consist of: the deck, where the health care professionals will be stationed outside of the container to manage traffic; the laboratory, where professionals will be able to collect and process data in a secure, indoor area; and, the external side where PPE is changed and discarded as well as where water is stored.

Shade and air conditioning allows the unit to be utilized in nearly all environments.

The entire unit costs as little as US$25k and can be assembled by as few as three people in two weeks. For more information on this specific project, please contact us here. And if you’d like to make a donation, please visit our Raisely page here. Your donations will directly employ more vulnerable and at-risk individuals (refugees and at-risk youth) in order to build these testing centres for our communities.

Let’s make a difference together for our communities and for the world!

Why P&G is Thinking INside the Box

Written by Tasha McGhie


Imagine a post-Covid-19 world where mobile testing stations are available to serve even the most vulnerable communities in the poorest countries and there exists a health response system that allows people all over the world to safely return to daily activities. That may sound like a distant utopia given the current suffering of millions of people, businesses, and the global economy. However, innovation abounds, and at P&G Purpose this utopian vision is quickly shaping into a reality—a reality that fits inside of a shipping container. P&G Purpose has partnered with Robert Barnstone, a Harvard-educated Sydney-based architect, to create purpose-built drive-through testing stations, and as of May 8, 2020, we kicked off our first successful soft launch in Sydney, Australia.


Testing has long been a staple at the helm of public health officials’ rapid response to disease outbreaks. The MERS, SARS, and Ebola epidemics proved that contact-tracing in conjunction with widespread testing can drastically reduce the spread of these diseases. An article from NPR reported that “Public health leaders widely agree that communities need to ramp up their capacity to test, trace and isolate, in order to safely ease up on social distancing measures and allow people to get back to work.” With countries around the world in lockdown, strapped for cash, and reeling from slow and poorly prepared response efforts, testing orchestration and facilities need to be accessible, equitable, and safe.


Let’s face it, the coronavirus has hit the poor and marginalized populations at disproportionate rates, and if there is one mantra that resonates here, it’s We’re all in this together. From the new superheroes on the frontlines in hospitals and grocery stores to those who are incarcerated or transported from one detention center to another, without access to testing and contact tracing, the communities in which they reside will suffer dire consequences.


In National Geographic’s interview with Nicholas Grassly, an infectious disease epidemiologist who works at Imperial College, he states that ‘“We found that testing was most effective when targeting high-risk groups, like health-care workers.’ Health-care workers account for as many as 20 percent of all cases in hard-hit places such as Spain. A recent report from the MRC Center [for Global Infectious Disease Analysis] estimates that weekly screening of health-care workers and other at-risk groups could reduce their transmission rates by a third.” In yet another report from the CDC, testing was again referred to as critical when curbing transmission of this deadly virus: “Prompt identification of persons with COVID-19 and consistent application of prevention measures within correctional and detention facilities are critical to protecting incarcerated or detained persons, staff members, and the communities to which they return.”


It’s no surprise and no less disheartening that those on the frontlines and in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions are at a higher risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19. So, too, are individuals with preexisting conditions such as congestive heart disease, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which disproportionately affect the African-American population in the United States. So where does this leave those who have little access to clean water or sufficient health care and for whom social distancing is next to impossible?


Refugees and asylum seekers in developing countries are in an extremely poor position to fight the threat of COVID-19. For example, living in camps of more than 900,000 within a space of approximately 10.7 square meters (or 115 square feet) per person, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are at an even greater risk of contracting and spreading the disease. An absence of quality health care and testing coupled with a plethora of rickety shelters amid squalid conditions makes this a prime breeding ground for COVID-19.


“Testing and services must be provided to everyone within a geographic region, regardless of whether an individual is a national or a refugee. In addition to the issues of inequity, differentiating makes no public sense,” said Paul Spiegel, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health.  If ever there were a moment in history with the power to unify humanity and change perceptions of “otherness” to “oneness”, this would be it. No prejudice. No judgment. No divisiveness. Instead, a coordinated effort to heal and prevent.


Testing: A solution


At P&G Purpose, we are creating these very testing solutions. Australia’s first purpose-built drive-through testing station for COVID-19 is made with low-cost materials, is easy to assemble, and can be deployed anywhere. Our design is safer for health care workers and comes complete with three zones: 1. The Deck – This is where the health care professionals will be stationed outside of the container to manage traffic. 2. Computer Station and Laboratory – where professionals will be able to collect and process data in a secure, indoor area. 3. External side – the location where PPE is changed and discarded as well as where water is stored.



There are many modern-day structures built from repurposed materials—who knew that a rather unassuming shipping container could transform into a rapidly deployable yet robust hospital system on wheels? We at P&G Purpose did and even equipped it with water, air conditioning, and electricity that can run on a generator or be plugged in. Everything on the external walls can be packed inside the shipping container and delivered just about anywhere in the world.



Who’s building these containers? We’re so glad you asked. One of our missions is to provide employment opportunities for those in need. Therefore, the prototype has been built by newly resettled Australians and veterans with marketable skills who need an employment foundation from which to leap. See the story of part of our crew, Dee and Joe, here.


But this is just the beginning.


Our goal is to raise $30,000 AUD to show the government how easily we can roll out mass testing across Australia, particularly in remote and underserved communities. If we can do it in Australia, we can do it in your community.


The world’s heartbeat pulses within each of us. We belong to each other, and it will take a collective effort to beat COVID-19. At P&G Purpose, we see a post-COVID-19 world where testing stations are abundant and can reach those who face transportation and other barriers to access. We see testing that is representative of the entire community and free from bias. We see testing that is safer for our health care professionals and our neighborhoods.


Do you see it too?


Donate HERE to help us reach our goal and be a part of the vision and the solution.


Get involved with Covid-19 relief

There are several ways to contribute, which describes you?

  1. I’d like to learn more: see here (overall), here (PPE), and here (hospital capacity) for the freely-available designs
  2. I’d like to contribute expertise, time or skills: we need, medical professional, materials scientists, and just about anyone with time to put in.  Please contact us at enquires@pgpurpose.org
  3. I’d like to contribute money: please go here to make a tax-deductible donation, and specify that you’d like to help with Covid in the comments.  If you would like to provide long-term sustainable employment, see here

Information about our people

While all the stories that we tell about our people are genuine, certain details have been changed to protect their privacy, and to avoid impacting any legal processes on foot. Details that may have been changed include (but are not limited to):

  • The name of the person
  • The photo, while it will be a photo of someone we work with, it may not be the person in that story. 

There is a great deal of work to be done in refugee legal assistance, one of the best nonprofits we know of is: https://www.racs.org.au

Training funding

If you are an Australian refugee, asylum seeker, or veteran or nonprofit/employer who knows of someone like this who could improve their job prospects by completing a short course (e.g. licence, white card), then, presuming funding is available, P&G Purpose will pay for 75% of a successful training course.

Funding process:

  1. Email enquiries@pgpurpose.org with the basic details (type of course, name of participant, refugee/asylum seeker/veteran status, estimated cost, and how it will lead to a job).  We will confirm that the funds are available, that the course is within the guidelines, and send you a confirmation, that we’ll support the course.
  2. Pass the the course.
  3. Email the original email confirmation (from step one above) passing course documents, tax invoice, and bank details to invoices@pgpurpose.org, for a 75% reimbursement.

If you are an employer and there is a barrier to employing one of these people that can be solved by direct application of funding, even if it is not in these parameters, then please, reach out. We are keen to find ways to help. Any questions, please reach out to enquiries@pgpurpose.org, or comment below.

Volunteering FAQs

How do I become a volunteer?


  1. Submit an application via email at enquiries@pgpurpose.org stating your skills, experience and availability, and/or applicable role
  2. If shortlisted, attend an interview
  3.  Start volunteering!

What kind of volunteer roles are available?


We offer a large range of volunteer opportunities across our programs. Volunteer roles are diverse and each requires different sets of skills, experience and availability.

Can I submit a general expression of interest to volunteer?


Yes, you can submit your EoI at enquiries@pgpurpose.org

I want to volunteer, but only for a short time, can I do this?


Generally, we prefer volunteers to commit to 12 months with us. Not only does this ensure efficient use of our resources dedicated to training of new volunteers, it is also important for the benefit of the overlooked people we serve that our programs operate with continuity and stability.

We do however occasionally advertise short term volunteer opportunities. Please read the Volunteer Position Descriptions for further information about the minimum time commitment required for individual roles.

How many hours a week does volunteering require?


Generally, we ask that volunteers are available for one day each week from noon till 5 pm; however, other programs are more flexible. You will have further opportunity to discuss this with individual Program Managers at Information Evenings and/or interview.

I work fulltime, can I still volunteer?


As we primarily operate during business hours, the majority of our volunteering opportunities are during the day Monday to Friday. However some services operate on weekends or are not bound by geography/working hours.

Can I choose which program I volunteer in?


When you submit an application you can choose which of the available volunteer roles you wish to apply for based on your preference, availability and qualifications/skills. Successful candidates are chosen based upon careful comparison of the demands of the position with the abilities and skills of each candidate.

How long does the recruitment and selection process take?


From the time volunteer applications close, it generally takes a few weeks to process the applications, shortlist and organise interviews.

We take selection of volunteers seriously for two reasons:
1. To ensure we match you and prepare you for your role.
2. To ensure we provide the best services possible for people seeking asylum.

How often do you take new volunteers?


We take volunteers on a rolling basis

Where are the volunteer roles based?


The majority of our volunteer roles are best done from Melbourne (primary) or Sydney (secondary).  That said, offsite and remote volunteer opportunities are also available.

What sorts of volunteers are you looking for?


We are looking for volunteers who are:
– Reliable and deeply committed to the welfare of some of the most overlooked people in society and share our values, this may be volunteer, but if you do choose to volunteer, then it’s not optional.
– Able and prepared to undertake ‘program specific training’ as needed

I don’t really know a lot about people seeking asylum, refugees, or other overlooked groups. is this a problem?


You don’t need to be an expert on asylum seeker issues, immigration, or overlooked people; however, a strong interest and commitment is required. You will have ample opportunity to learn more about people through your time with us.

I am under 18. Can I volunteer?


Yes, on  a case-by-case basis.

How do I get to you?


Please see our ‘contact us’

I still have questions!

Please send us an email at enquiries@pgpurpose.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.