Social & Economic Dev't

One could say, however, that the Bahá’í communities could assist in social development from a very early stage in their development by supporting the activities of other groups who are, at this point, more numerous and powerful. To some extent this is true, provided that such involvement does not divert the efforts of the friends from the more fundamentally important teaching work or involve them in the disputes of non- Bahá’í rival groups.

The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 515

Social justice will be attained only when every member of society enjoys a relative degree of material prosperity and gives due regard to the acquisition of spiritual qualities. The solution, then, to prevailing economic difficulties is to be sought as much in the application of spiritual principles as in the implementation of scientific methods and approaches.

Universal House of Justice, [Authorized Translation from Persian], 2 April 2010, to the Believers in the Cradle of the Faith

This does not mean that Bahá’ís cannot collaborate with any non-Bahá’í movement; it does mean that good judgement is required to distinguish those activities and associations which are beneficial and constructive from those which are divisive.

The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 516-517

When a Bahá’í community is very small, there is little that it can do to implement the social teachings of the Faith (beyond their impact on the behaviour of individual believers), because such a community with the resources in funds and manpower at its disposal is but a drop in the ocean in comparison with the many large agencies, governmental and private, which are engaged in social improvement. When the Bahá’í community grows sufficiently large, however, its activities can and must proliferate and diversify. This development is already taking place in many parts of the world. In India, for example, the New Era School in Panchgani, which has been developing remarkably for a number of years, is closely associated with a rural development project in the villages close by that is having dramatically favourable results in the life of the villagers. In the province of Madhya Pradesh, where there are hundreds of thousands of Bahá’ís, the Rabbani School in Gwalior is educating children from the villages of the area in the Teachings of the Faith, in academic subjects and in agriculture, so that when they return to their home villages, these pupils not only promote the Faith but will influence their growth and development in every way. In Ecuador, as you no doubt know, the size of the Bahá’í community, scattered over inaccessible terrain in the high Andes, made it both necessary and possible some years ago to establish a Bahá’í radio station. "Radio Bahá’í," as it is known, broadcasts not only about the Faith, but has programmes concerning health, agriculture, literacy and so on. It has now become so well established and highly regarded that it has been able to apply for and receive a Canadian Government grant through C.I.D.A. to finance the development of certain social service activities. Thus it can be seen that once the Bahá’í community attains a certain stature it is able to work in fruitful collaboration with non- Bahá’í agencies in its social activities.

The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 514