Compassion International History

The origins of Compassion International began from South Korea in 1952. It was when evangelist Reverend Everett Swanson could not see the plight of 35 children who were orphaned by the Korean conflict. The founder was inspired by Mathew 15:32 where Jesus says "I have compassion for these people...I do not want to send them away hungry". When the Reverend returned to America he was presented with two checks: $50 and $1000 to return to Korea to help the children. Taking it as a sign of God, he went back and started the organization.

Started as the Everett Swanson Evangelistic Association, it attended to ministering of orphans in South Korea. In the 1960's the organization provided complete underwear for children so that they could be comfortable during the winter season. The program was called "Operation Long Underwear" and provided shoes, socks, heavy underwear and uniform.

In the 1970s Compassion International began its work in the United States Native American field. And Compassion International was also started in Australia. The 1980s were a time when the headquarters were moved to Colorado Springs and an unsponsored child fund was created to help children who had not yet been picked up for sponsorship.

The Overseas Scholarship Grant Program was created to support children who had completed education and were looking at continuing with secondary school or vocational training. This was also the decade when Compassion International left Korea after 40 years of successful and effective work that brought about a lot of changes. Work began in Ethiopia and relief was provided in Rwanda post the civil war.

The first Leadership Development Program International Congress was held in Philippines to celebrate the graduation of the first batch of passing out students. By this stage the organization helping support more than 400,000 children across 21 countries. They added Nicaragua, Switzerland and Bangladesh in this decade taking the number of assisted countries to 25.


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