The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) began as a department of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. It has since grown into an internationally recognised humanitarian NGO with a presence in over 130 countries impacting the lives of over 30 million people worldwide. Below is a brief timeline into ADRA's history;
ADRA's humanitarian work was first established in November 1956 by the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church to provide relief and welfare, being formally known as the Seventh Day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS).
SAWS organised relief shipments to 22 countries with a total value of USD $485,000. Four years later, the total number of countries increased to 29 with a total value of USD $2.3 million in shipments. During this period, the country beneficiaries included those located within South America and the Middle East - sites of major disasters.
By the mid 1970's, SAWS began to broaden its mission focus from disaster relief to long term programs that would lead to long term development practices.
As SAWS' work expanded, the name was changed to Seventh Day Adventist World Service in order to best reflect the move into community development and not just welfare.
Moving from just providing emergency relief to a program focused on long term community development, the name was once again changed to what we know today as the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). The work of ADRA grew quickly with major programs established in several countries emphasising community development, food distribution, institutional development and ongoing disaster relief. Examples of activities included; building health clinics in Africa, assisting hurricane victims in Central America, teaching hygiene and health practices to children in Asia, and promoting awareness of worldwide humanitarian needs through ADRA's global village network in the United States.
In 1984, ADRA commenced work in Myanmar with the local Seventh Day Adventist church taking an active part within the Myanmar Health Department establishing what we know today as ADRA Myanmar.
ADRA Myanmar becomes registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs.
ADRA becomes one of the leading non-governmental relief organisations in the world. ADRA International established as the head office within the United States is granted General Consultative Status by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations leading to the opportunity of ADRA having a voice within the international community.
Cyclone Nargis wreaks havoc across Myanmar causing USD$10 billion worth in damage with a high casualty count. ADRA Myanmar works with international emergency funds and donors to deliver support and relief to affected communities.
ADRA Myanmar establishes 4 core sectors to define and simplify the scope of our projects including; Sustainable Livelihoods, Education, Health & Nutrition and Emergency Response.
ADRA Myanmar expands it's projects and now has an active presence within 10 states and regions throughout Myanmar. ADRA Myanmar continues to hold an MoU with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Welfare Relief and Resettlement as well as building a strong working relationship with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, and the Ministry of Education Department for Technical Vocational Education (MoE-DTVE).
ADRA International launches the rebrand and new focus for the ADRA network to become ONE ADRA. ADRA Myanmar celebrates their 35th Anniversary on May 31 since work began back in 1984. ADRA Myanmar is selected as one of 10 focus countries to participate in a 3 year global campaign targeted at Out of School Children by ADRA International.