40 years of serving those in need

Justice, compassion and love are the priorities of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in Australia.

“ADRA has made significant progress in its four decades of existence, nevertheless, more work remains,” said ADRA International president Michael Kruger. “As we commemorate this milestone, we also look forward to the future and the opportunities to continue making a remarkable difference in underprivileged communities.”

ADRA has a long heritage of humanitarian work that dates back over a century. Before the Seventh-day Adventist Church established ADRA internationally in 1983, and ADRA Australia in 1984, it had already been organising relief activities since 1918, when it sent aid to regions devastated by World War I.

The increase in disasters and famine prompted the Adventist Church to establish the Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS) in 1956, which began supplying relief shipments to 22 nations by 1958. Over the years, SAWS evolved from a welfare agency to playing a global role in long-term development initiatives; therefore it changed its name to the Seventh-day Adventist World Service in 1973. As the need for international sustainable community development grew, SAWS was reorganised and renamed the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in 1983 to better reflect its overall mission and activities.

ADRA achieved General Consultative Status by the United Nations in 1997, the highest degree of non-profit organisation accreditation. This afforded ADRA the potential to serve even more marginalised populations around the world on a greater scale.

Today, ADRA is a global humanitarian agency with over 5000 employees and 7000 volunteers serving communities in over 120 countries regardless of ethnicity, political or religious affiliation. Apart from supporting communities in long-term development initiatives in sustainable livelihoods, health, education and emergency preparedness, ADRA responds to an average of two disasters per week. Although its country offices are spread across different continents and thousands of kilometres apart, ADRA works as a unified body to provide innovative solutions to a world in need.

Mr Kruger said the anniversary is testament to the dedication and hard work of ADRA staff members and partners, “who have worked relentlessly to provide healing and hope to people in need”.

“We currently operate in 25 countries across the Pacific, South-East Asia, Africa and the Middle East, impacting more than 600,000 lives. With the cost-of-living crisis and natural disasters in Australia, we are also stepping up our national program to meet the needs of vulnerable Australians. There are currently over 100 projects in Australia, and this is only possible thanks to our more than 2000 volunteers, and partnerships with churches and ADRA op shops across the country.

“ADRA is committed to continue being the hands and feet of Jesus and demonstrating justice, compassion and love throughout its work for decades to come!”