Quaker Service Sweden (QSS) is a small and effective aid organisation run entirely by volunteers. Although it is an independent association it maintains close links with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Sweden. The QSS finances are checked annually by an independent auditor. Membership is open to anyone who shares our values and wants to support our projects. You can read more about our projects below.
A summarised version of the Annual Report for 2020 can be downloaded here.
QSS fosters self-help and helps its partners to develop in their own way in long-term and sustainable ways. Our work is based on the Quaker values of peace, equality, simplicity, honesty and community.
The QSS Board consists of Görel Råsmark (clerk), Arnold Langefors (secretary), Tofte Frykman (treasurer), Annika Hollsing and Sue Glover Frykman.
QSS is run by a very small committee, all of whom are volunteers (not salaried), which means that apart from small administrative costs, all the money that is raised goes directly to the projects that it supports.
Quaker Service Sweden’s projects
In Bangladesh, QSS supports the organisation called Sabalamby Unnayan Samity (SUS, which basically means ‘help for self-help’), which works with the ultra-poor in the north-eastern part of the country in the Mymensingh and Netrakona districts. SUS is a well-respected development aid actor in Bangladesh with considerable influence at the local and national level and is included in local, national and international networks.
QSS has supported SUS since 1994. One of our first initiatives was to help SUS to create a Model Farm to provide local training in organic cultivation, compost-making and the production of domestic gas from manure. A heritage seed bank has also been created for the collection of hardy rice varieties and other crops for demonstration and distribution purposes. The project has also developed to include fish farming.
QSS supports SUS in its integrated development work in different villages in the Mymensingh and Netrakona districts. The work includes the provision of basic education, helping the poor to become economically self-supporting by means of micro-finance, organising training courses to prevent violence against women and to create better relations between the sexes, helping to combat disease, providing pre-natal and post-natal care, educating women about health issues, and organising human rights groups and training.
Thanks to Swedish government aid from Sida, via QSS, SUS is able to help the very poor people living in these areas to improve their lives and living conditions. Recent innovations also include clubs for the elderly and youth groups for adolescents.
In Netrakona SUS also built a hospital to serve the very poor, and runs a sheltered home for vulnerable and abused women.
In Burundi, QSS first supported conflict management and reconciliation initiatives following the violent struggles between the different ethnic groups in Rwanda and Burundi. QSS also helped Quakers in Burundi to build a Peace School (opened in 1999). Since then it has supported Quaker initiatives to develop a vocational school for both boys and girls.
The most recent support has been to help Burundi Quakers establish and develop training in organic farming methods and production, and thereby help to improve food production in the country as a whole. Training is carried out in cooperatives, where everyone – regardless of gender and ethnicity – takes part. This also contributes to a long-term reconciliation process.
In addition, land that was either neglected or destroyed as a result of the internal conflicts is now being reclaimed and cultivated, while terracing, tree-planting and other cultivation methods ensure the efficient use of the country’s limited water resources.
Since 2013 QSS has been supporting the organisation “Support for Ethiopian Former Inmates Rehabilitation – Sweden, SEFIRS”. This organisation supports and rehabilitates girls who have served prison sentences. On their release the girls live at the rehabilitation centre called Gate of Hope, where they receive support to either return to school or undertake vocational training.
A group of Quakers in Georgia have been engaged in work involving reconciliation and better understanding between ethnic groups since the war in 2018. In 2020 the situation for the two largest groups – Armenians (Christians) and Azerbaijanis (Muslims) will be explored more closely with a view to implementing measures for improved conditions and inclusion.
QSS supports preschool children in Gaza through Quaker Service Norway’s local partner. 13 preschools catering for some 1,700 children are run by the Palestinian Early Childhood Education Programme (PECP) in 8 of Gaza’s refugee camps.
The programme provides quality preschool education for children from very poor families and ensures that the teachers receive a living wage. PECP is also involved in helping children who are and have been traumatised by the conflict situations in and around Gaza.
In Ramallah, QSS supports the programme for pupils with special needs run by the Friends School, as well as the activities at Ramallah Friends Meeting House.
In the past QSS has supported the “Neva River Clearwater Project” – a collaborative project between Swedish and Russian nature schools and people who are interested in environmental issues and eco-farming.
The project has inspired ‘rain-and-shine’ preschools and increased possibilities for schoolchildren to engage in outdoor sports and learn about nature, also through the ‘Friendly Seeds’ eco-farming initiative. Eco-Saturdays are organised for both students and teachers.
The project is now under new leadership and we are following its development with interest.
Together with the Quaker service organisations in Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, QSS is now supporting an Alternatives to Violence (AVP) project in Uganda.
The project makes use of the participants’ own experiences through interactive exercises and activities, discussions, play and roleplay in order to show how people react in situations where injustice, prejudice, frustration and anger can lead to aggressive behaviour and violence.
AVP Uganda also organises workshops for educators so that the project can be spread more widely throughout the country.
Quakers in Zimbabwe belong to Southern Africa Yearly Meeting. In Hlekweni, near Bulawayo in Matabeleland, a project around education and agriculture has been in existence since 1967.
In the late 1900s Quaker Service Sweden, with help from Sweden’s development agency for development cooperation, Sida, supported various aspects of the project in Hlekweni, including a bakery so that children, youth and families in the locality could buy locally produced bread.
The projects in Hlekweni with the school, education, farming and animal husbandry have continued. Apart from local Quakers, there is now also a support organisation in Britain (Friends of Hlekweni). It is hoped that QSS will once again be able to support the country by helping to provide peace education in the form of an Alternatives to Violence (AVP) project.
AVP enables groups of people to learn to work through conflicts, solve them, and collaborate with each other. Peace clubs have also been created, together with a new peace education programme specially adapted to Zimbabwe. As a local Quaker expressed it – peace is when the strong is fair and the weak safe.
Write to us:
Quaker Service Sweden
Görel Råsmark, clerk, +4670-818 02 78
Tofte Frykman, treasurer, +4670-732 78 65
Or email us
Swedish Bank Account (with clearing-number): 9960 340 900 7352.
IBAN: SE6795000099603409007352, BIC: NDEASESS.