Quaker Service Australia (QSA) is the international aid and development agency of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia. It came into being in 1940 as a fund-raising committee to assist the social justice and development work of British Quakers. In 1959 it was established as a separate body known as Australia Friends Service Council. In 1987 it became Quaker Service Australia.
QSA supports community-initiated projects with the aim to reduce poverty and to raise peoples’ standard of living, particularly through improved food and water security. Working through locally-based partners helps to empower the communities with consideration for cultural sensitivities.
QSA is guided in all it does by the Quaker testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Environment, favouring an integrated approach at levels of the individual, family and community, and that particularly seeks to:
- Promote the human rights and dignity of all involved, including child protection and reducing violence against women and girls;
- Enhance gender equality and community development;
- Maximise sustainability and the positive environmental impact in all projects.
Over the years, QSA has supported various communities in many parts of the world, including but not limited to India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Solomon Islands and Indigenous Australia. The tapestry panel depicts three current and prominent project initiatives, showing women in their respective traditional dress:
- Left, Cambodia - The teaching of techniques and maintenance of permaculture gardens to women in rural Cambodia to achieve year-round food security. The woman is shown wearing a traditional sampot (long skirt) while watering her vegetable seedlings.
Centre, Uganda - The involvement of families, community groups and school children learning water-harvesting and organic farming techniques to cope with climate change in Uganda. The woman is depicted wearing her traditional gomesi, with the students in school uniforms and picking cabbages.
Right, India - Women wearing saris in Tamil Nadu, South India selling some of the products from the local medicinal herbs which they grow and process into nutritional chutneys and food products, as well as some simple home herbal remedies.
This panel was designed by Robin Sinclair and stitiched by the South Australian Friends in Stitches group.