Denise Altvater (far right)and siblings weeks before they were taken from the reservation and placed in a non-native foster home by the state of Maine.
Denise Altvater is a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and has worked for AFSC for eighteen years. She has been instrumental in developing the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission between a sovereign Tribal Nation, the Wabanaki, and a U.S. state, Maine, to address hurts caused by the foster care system. The commission will be seated on February 12, 2013.
Farm trainee Joseluis Ortiz selling produce at farmer's market.
Hear the story of how AFSC partnered with local organizations in the South Valley of New Mexico to create the Farmer to Farmer training program. Participants in the program have recently formed the Agri-cultura Network, a brokerage of farmers that provides local public schools with fresh vegetables year round. Listen to the voices of the community members who have contributed to this program's success. - Madeline
Religious leaders gathered in Sri Lanka to discuss climate change.
How do we—as Quakers, as humans—address climate change? It’s a broad question about a multi-faceted issue, I know—and one that I’m certainly not ready to answer in 500 words or fewer. But Quakers around the country are gathering in their local meetings and churches to ask this question, consider answers, and work with others to speak about and advocate for the solutions they propose.
"The Peaceable Kingdom" by Edward Hicks at the National Gallery
Note: I sent Max Carter a note about an unrelated matter and he sent me these reflections about the recent mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., which he posted on the Guilford College Friends Center Facebook page yesterday. - Lucy
Displaced people from Masisi who were in the Mugunga IDP camp near Goma
Note: I've been receiving regular updates on Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo from David Zarembka, Coordinator of AGLI of the Friends Peace Teams, for the past few weeks. They are insightful, sensitive and heart-breaking. I invited David to write a reflective post about the situation there, and he sent me this, powerful words to consider carefully, and to remember that we are connected via our Quaker brothers and sisters to the situation there.
“Let them remember that there is a meaning beyond absurdity. Let them be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power, and that we can do — every one — our share to redeem the world despite all [the] absurdities and all the frustrations and all [the] disappointments. And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to live life as if it were a work of art.” – Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
David Niyonzima on the role his faith plays in his work
Listen to David Niyonzima, founder and director of the Trauma Healing and Reconconiliation Services (THARS) in Burundi, on how his faith influences his peace work. David leads workshops on trauma healing and providing community spaces for peaceful dialogue and reconciliation.
This audio is an excerpt from a longer interview with David Niyonzima, conducted by Friends Liaison Lucy Duncan and Friends Relations Fellow, Madeline Schaefer. As well as being the director of THARS, David is also a Quaker pastor and member of Burundi Yearly Meeting.
On a beautiful morning in 1993, Burundian David Niyonzima found himself caught in the middle of a violent ethnic conflict. Although he escaped unharmed, 25 people, including eight of his students at a local Quaker pastoral training school, were shot and killed. David spent the next few years fearing for his life and the safety of his family. But after a transformational experience of learning to forgive his attackers, David became committed to working for peace in his war-torn country.
Check out these documents from the AFSC archives on the history of the organization's relationship with Quakers. The relationship has always been a bit rocky, but scattered throughout these documents are a consistent, genuine spirit of reconciliation and love.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has office around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.