Our History

We're here when they need us most

ADRA has been serving countries all over the world for more than 60 years to reach the most vulnerable communities and go where other NGOs don’t. To date, the ADRA network is now providing support, relief and empowerment to more than 118 countries. Here is a brief timeline of ADRA’s history since its establishment. 

1956

ADRA is established under the name Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS).

1956
1962

SAWS provides $2.3 million USD of relief to 29 countries.

1962
1984

SAWS becomes the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). Focus shifts to development work. 

1984
1989

ADRA begins working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and provides education for 37,000 Liberian refugees.  

1989
1994

During the Rwandan genocide, ADRA is the only non-governmental organisation to stay in the country. ADRA provides food for 400,000 and medical staff treat over 1,000 patients a day.

1994
1997

ADRA is granted General Consultative Status by the United Nations.

1997
2001

ADRA is one of 14 agencies selected to be apart of the Global Food Education Program and allows ADRA to provide food to 90,000 students in Madagascar.

2001
2004

Following the Asian tsunami, ADRA launches its largest emergency response to date assisting thousands in 4 countries.

2004
2010

ADRA Timor-Leste office is established in the country’s capital city of Dili. 

2010