For decades in Asia, AFSC has worked to foster understanding and reconciliation and alleviate the suffering resulting from war and disaster. AFSC began working in China in World War II, training people in affected communities to provide emergency care through the Friends Ambulance Unit. When war devastated countries in Southeast Asia, AFSC responded with humanitarian relief to people on all sides of conflict and supported community-led efforts to build peace in Vietnam, Cambodia, and other Mekong region countries.

Today, AFSC continues to open doors and connect people in Asia. We build international cooperation with China by promoting conflict-sensitive development, partnering on research to build peace, and other efforts. We provide resources and technical assistance to teachers in Myanmar and farmers in North Korea. In Indonesia, where extremism threatens religious and gender minorities, AFSC assists young organizers and others working for tolerance and inclusion. And across the region, we continue to create opportunities for reconciliation and hope.

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  • Medical personnel examine a patient who is lying on a table, leg bent up in the air.
    The Friends Ambulance Unit and its medical teams served people on both sides of the political divide in China during World War II. This helped established the Quakers’ reputation for fairness and pacifism.
  • Two children with prosthetic legs walk with the aid of crutches.
    Two decades later, AFSC medical teams developed special expertise in prosthetics in Vietnam, where land mines have caused tens of thousands of lost limbs.
  • Six people engaged in conversation with maps and diagrams on the ground in front of them.
    AFSC support for Vietnamese village life, as in this meeting about an irrigation project, continued well into the 1980s. Lady Borton (center, in blue) played a major role in our efforts to help the Vietnamese people survive generations of war and external intervention.
  • Two girls hold shovels, standing beside a body of water.
    Cambodia and Laos shared the horrific legacy of cluster bombs that began in Vietnam. The Shovels for Laos Program allowed people to dig up unexploded ordnance more safely.
  • Four people smile, sitting and standing together in a room. One person's hands are holding rope suspended from the ceiling.
    Our work with people with disabilities continued in Cambodia, alongside leadership development programs for women and veterinary training programs.
  • Young woman speaks into a microphone and gestures.
    In response to growing violence between ethnic and religious groups in Indonesia, we began the Youth for Peace Program in 1998 to train young peacemakers.
  • Group of four children draw on a blackboard with chalk.
    The 2004 tsunami created a huge need for immediate crisis relief and long-term trauma therapy. In an AFSC program, these children are drawing their villages before, during, and after the tidal wave, to process their loss.
  • Woman has her blood pressure taken by medical staff while children hold onto her.
    Following the tsunami, our work in the Aceh province grew rapidly—particularly in the heavily-conflicted area of East Aceh. This mother has her blood pressure checked at an AFSC clinic.
  • Group of people wearing colorful clothes enact a dramatic scene with puppets of horses and dragons.
    This Balija dance performance brought traditional Javanese and Chinese dancers together with street youth and transgender street performers to dramatize conflict and resolution among these groups.
  • Large group of people release doves into the air.
    The Peace Torch ceremony uses symbolism—carrying a torch emblazoned with signs from each of Indonesia’s faiths and releasing doves—to promote unity among Indonesia’s fractured population.
  • Two women work to harvest grain from stalks that have been cut.
    Since 1997 in DPRK (North Korea), AFSC has worked with farmers to help them learn sustainable agricultural practices and increase food production.
  • Group of people seated and standing on a grassy hillside next to a river.
    Young peace builders from Lower Mekong countries (Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand) meet with young Chinese leaders to share peace-building practices and forge new relationships.