Friends in deed : 50 years of Quaker Service Australia

by Heather Saville

Paperback, 2009



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[Surry Hills, N.S.W.] : [Quaker Service Australia], 2009.

User reviews

LibraryThing member bookcrazed
I set out to learn the history of an Australian Quaker institution, but as I read the vignettes, or case histories, that comprise the bulk of the text of Friends in deed, I found I was receiving a rather effective education in community development. I saw, for the first time, that there is more to giving away money than raising it and finding someone who needs it. Each vignette is more than a short description of the work undertaken and accomplished. It includes the multiple considerations that accompanied the decision to fund a project.

The size of the commitment of Quaker Service Australia (QSA) volunteers has often led to a mistaken notion of the size of the organization. In Cambodia, where QSA has supported various projects for more than twenty years, Saville writes that many Cambodians believe "QSA is a big and wealthy organization," not a corps of dedicated volunteers supported by a paid staff of two, housed in a tiny office in Sydney.

The back-cover blurb promises that the text captures "the struggles of people who live their beliefs, and the evolution of development thinking over half a century." And indeed it does. Saville has gone beyond the personalities and statistics, revealing the considerable thought that preceded every project-funding decision and how, at the grassroots level, a series of small succsses can cascade into meaningful change within communities.
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Local notes

insert: invitation to the launch of the book at Dyson House, East Melbourne, 20 March 2009

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