About Act for Peace

We believe that when people work together, big changes really are possible. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to act in partnership with passionate people across the globe to achieve safety, justice and dignity in communities threatened by conflict and natural disaster.

Our story

Act for Peace’s work with refugees and the internally displaced began back in 1948, when food and other provisions were sent to people who had been forced to flee from conflict during World War II.

Our famous Christmas Bowl appeal came into being a year later, on Christmas Day 1949, when the Reverend Frank Byatt of Victoria asked his dinner guests to reflect on their good fortunes and do something selfless for those less fortunate around the world – victims of disease, poverty and violence. He placed an empty bowl on the table and asked everyone present to give what they considered to be the cost of their Christmas meal.

This small but significant gesture of charity has resonated deeply with thousands of Australians over the years, and shown that together, we have the ability to make a difference, no matter how small our individual gifts.

Since the first Christmas Bowl began, over the past 69 years – and more recently through fundraising activities such as the Ration Challenge – our generous supporters have helped us provide food, shelter, education, healthcare and training to the world’s most vulnerable people.

> Read more about Act for Peace here

How we help

We’re there during and after emergencies to deliver life-saving aid in the immediate aftermath and help get people back on their feet. We also work with communities at risk to prepare in advance, which saves lives when disaster strikes.

Lasting change takes time. Our long-term development projects help communities tackle their own problems through livelihoods and vocational training, health and hygiene programs, and psychosocial and educational support.

We lobby governments and decision-makers to live up to their responsibility to protect the world’s most vulnerable people – especially refugees – and to create the conditions for just and peaceful societies.

Working from the ground up

Act for Peace works through local partners – organisations set up and run by people who come from the communities where they work. They speak the language, they understand the culture and they’re well trusted. Most of our work on the ground – distributing rations, running training – is done by volunteers, often refugees themselves. This saves money and ensures aid reaches the people who need it most. It also gives refugees a sense of control over their lives and helps restore self esteem through helping their own communities.

Find out more about Act for Peace and our work.