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This paper explores the establishment of the Foster Parents Plan of Australia (PLAN) in 1971, a branch of the international organization established in 1937 which promoted the world‐wide sponsorship of refugee children. The Australian branch is examined as a way of exploring the shift from notions of charity to justice in shaping the meaning of humanitarianism in the 1970s. It argues that PLAN began to move from ideas of charity to justice by changing the focus from sponsoring individual refugee children to sustainable family programmes and long‐term strategies to alleviate poverty and the legacies of war. It also considers the new methods developed in the early 1970s of the commercialization of sponsorship of refugee children in Asia. These methods included new advertisements which personalized child sponsorship; the use of statistics to measure effectiveness of advertisements; and the deployment of advertising on radio, television and film. The paper concludes that by the latter part of the 1970s a form of humanitarianism developed which was a hybrid of notions of charity and justice.


Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences

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Journal Article

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