In the early 1950s, an evangelist named Everett Swanson flew from Chicago to South Korea to speak, sing and play for the American troops. Everett came in contact with hundreds of orphans who lost their parents in the war and now lived on the street and were abandoned.

One morning, he saw some cleaning workers picking up piles of something that Everett thought was clothes rags in a truck. He curiously walked up to the truck to take a closer look and was completely terrified when he saw that the "heaps" were not just clothes rags but there were also frozen little bodies, children who died on the street during the night.

Swanson returned to the United States and at home, people started giving him donations to help the children who needed the most help. This was the start of a unique program that enabled people in the West to provide these Korean children with food, clothing, lodging, Bible teaching and medical assistance. Compassion started in 1952 and today we collaborate with more than 8,000 local churches in 27 countries, we help over 2.2 million sponsored children.


1952 Compassion International is founded by evangelist Rev. Everett Swanson who was moved by the plight of orphans in South Korea.

1963 Compassion Canada is established.

1968 Compassion begins its international growth.

1978 Compassion Limited of Australia is established.

1984 The Compassion Fund and Unsponsored Children’s Fund are introduced

1986 Tear Fund New Zealand partners with Compassion.

1990 SEL France partners with Compassion.

1993 More than 180,000 children are sponsored.

1994 Compassion initiates relief efforts in Rwanda.

1996 The Netherlands joins the Compassion Partner Countries.

1999 Compassion UK opens in the United Kingdom.

2001 Italy becomes a Compassion partner country.

2001 Over 400,000 children are now assisted in 21 countries around the globe.

2002 Compassion International celebrates 50 years of ministry.

2003 Compassion Suisse opens in Switzerland.

2004 Compassion South Korea is established.

2006 Compassion assists more than 800,000 children in 24 countries.

2007 Compassion Germany is established.

2009 Compassion International celebrates 1,000,000 sponsored children.

2012 Compassion International celebrates its 60th anniversary.

2013 Compassion Nordic is established and opens office in Norway. Compassion Norge and Compassion Sverige are registered.

2017 Compassion Nordic opens office in Stockholm.

2019 Compassion Danmark is registered.

2019 Compassion celebrates that over 2,000,000 children in 25 countries receive help through Compassion's sponsorship program.

2022 Compassion is now releasing 2,200,000 children from poverty in 27 countries

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