Rooted in international humanitarian service, World Concern has built on that foundation to become a global leader in poverty alleviation.
In 1955, physician Wilbert Saunders and pharmacist Jim McCoy founded Medicines for Missions, the precursor to World Concern, and began supplying medicines to clinics and hospitals overseas. In 1970 Medicine for Missions officially joined CRISTA Ministries and several years later, became World Concern.
World Concern reached a turning point in 1976. After delivering relief supplies to Guatemala in the wake of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, it became clear that after the initial crisis is over, giving handouts and then leaving was detrimental to the long term development of a country.
World Concern began sending qualified professionals and dedicated volunteers to work alongside the poor, helping them improve their standard of living and quality of life. World Concern’s work expanded to include emergency relief in response to famines in Bangladesh and Africa, a hurricane in Honduras and an earthquake in Nicaragua.
World Concern’s significant responses of the last decade include relief and recovery work after the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, and a life-saving response in Myanmar to rebuild communities after Cyclone Nargis in 2008. World Concern supported refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan who fled into Chad during the Darfur war, as well as currently resettling displaced families in Chad.
World Concern also has an extended response in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. More than 100,000 people received assistance. The earthquake disaster response and long-term development in Haiti is one of World Concern’s most significant projects.
Over the past three decades, World Concern has continued to provide excellent service to the world’s poor. In some of the most dangerous places in the world, where suffering and disease are at their worst, World Concern continues to bring relief and hope to those in need.
1955 // Founded
In 1955, we began as Medicine for Missions, providing medicine and supplies to hospitals overseas.
1960-1970 // growing
Medicine for Missions distributed more than $1 million worth of medical supplies to countries in need, and began discussions about joining King's Garden, a ministry in Seattle, Washington.
1970-1980 // Adapting
Medicine for Missions joined King's Garden, which eventually became CRISTA Ministries, and expanded work into Bangladesh, Africa, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
In 1976, we officially became World Concern and opened our first long-term overseas integrated rural development project in Haiti.
1980-1990 // responding
World Concern provided emergency relief during the Ethiopia famine. The worst drought in 15 years, combined with regional wars created the largest refugee crisis since World War II. During this time, World Concern took responsibility for the Halba Refugee Camp in Somalia, which was home to 40,000 people.
1990-2000 // developing
World Concern continued to aid the poor around the world, including relief for war refugees in Somalia, Rwanda, Kosovo, and North Korea, beginning a tradition of gaining access to countries often closed to other organizations. Long-term projects continued in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Haiti, and Thailand.
2000-Current // Looking ahead
In 2004, World Concern responded to the devastating tsunami that hit Thailand, Sri Lanka, and other coastal areas of the Indian Ocean. In 2008, World Concern helped communities rebuild after Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. And in 2010, we faced our largest disaster response to date in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.
In 2011, World Concern was one of only a few international aid organizations able to reach people in southern Somalia during the Horn of Africa famine, providing emergency food, water, medical assistance and supplies to thousands on both sides of the Kenya-Somalia border.
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