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Everett Swanson

Compassion UK’s history and heart

The history of Compassion international

On a war-torn Korean street in 1952, God moved Everett Swanson with compassion. Watching city workers scoop up what looked like piles of rags and throw them into the back of a truck, he walked over to take a closer look. Swanson was deeply troubled to see that the “piles” were not rags, but frozen bodies of orphans who had died overnight in the street.

On the airplane home, Swanson heard a simple message resounding in his head. As the engines whirred, he heard the challenge, “What are you going to do? What are you going to do?” over and over again.

By the time his plane landed, Swanson had made a decision: God had moved him with compassion so he needed to take action.

Everett Swanson

Swanson knew he could not turn his back on these children. He took a stand, vowing to find a way to help them. He raised money to support a Korean orphanage and soon established a unique programme, linking each Korean orphan with a caring individual whose generosity provided them with education, food, clothing, shelter and medical care.

The very same belief drives us today. When God stirs our hearts with compassion, we take action to share His love.  

Helping children in need remains at the heart of who we are


Over the last 65 years we've honed our approach to child development- Swanson’s initial act of compassion has grown to a movement releasing more than 1.8 million children from poverty in 25 developing countries. There are thousands of Compassion graduates who've been released from poverty and are bringing change to their families, communities and nations.

Every day we continue to share God’s love in action with children in poverty. Will you join us?


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