The 1970s

UNAIS volunteers started work in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) in 1974 with Margaret Piper who started a mother and child health programme. Margaret trained and worked alongside a team of health promoters around the area of Dori and together they made a mobile health unit, running clinics in villages and a recuperation centre for the most severely malnourished children. UNA Members sent donations to support Margaret’s work which was a great success and UNAIS increased their involvement in the health work of the region with more volunteers.

UNAIS  began work in Mali in 1979 and a long, successful partnership with the health organisation Alfredo de Mata in the Amazonas region of Brazil  which started in 1978 to tackle leprosy.

Sandra Hendrikson, a social worker with considerable experience of prison and rehabilitation work, began working in Paraguay in July 1979 alongside two anthropologists and Tony and Posy Hill, documentalists. Her main role was working in the rehabilitation of prisoners. 

The project partner was the Inter Church Committee which had been assisting the families of political prisoners for some years, and had come to realise that many of their material and legal problems were also faced by the families of common-law prisoners. Along with Sandra’s help, they found that the frequent loss of land rights and job prospects by prisoners while ‘inside’ led many of them to return to crime when they were released; they often became trapped in an endless cycle of recidivism.

Before Sandra began her work in Paraguay, there had been no prison rehabilitation scheme operating in Paraguay. There was no local expertise, so the Inter-Church Committee contacted the UNAIS for a volunteer. Sandra got the role and successfully started a rehabilitation programme for the prisoners of Paraguay. Here are a few of the incredible photographs taken at that time by (we think) Victoria Lincoln, one of the anthropologists who were studying the need for community work with Paraguay’s Indian population.

In the 1970s, UNAIS volunteers were at work in…..

Burundi, Algeria, Nigeria, Thailand, Ivory Coast, British Solomons, Paraguay, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, Greece, Northern Ireland, Malawi, Argentina, Pakistan, Bahrain, Somalia, Liberia, Gilbert & Ellice Islands, New Hebrides, Western Samoa, Tanzania, Persian Gulf, Chile, Senegal, Congo, Morocco, Uganda, Kenya, Peru, Sudan, Panama, Togo, Haiti, Afganistan, Ethiopia, Guyana, Hong Kong, Turkey.

Maurice O Shea in rural Brazil - 1973

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