Our Beginning

Soon after the end of the Second World War, the Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS), was created to aid those affected by serious disasters, which were becoming more and more frequent. SAWS was incorporated in Maryland, USA on November 13, 1956. To reflect the Church’s worldwide involvement, the name Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service was changed to Seventh-day Adventist World Service in 1973.


In 1983-1984, SAWS (The Seventh-day Adventist World Services), was eventually reorganized in 1983-1984 into ADRA to recognize the professional expertise that was brought to the table. The name SAWS was changed due to it not accurately explaining what the church was doing. So the name was changed to the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.

From 1985 to 1989, ADRA Canada ran 110 projects during its first few years as a registered charity. During those early years, ADRA Canada responded to 14 disasters. These disasters included floods, earthquakes, famines, conflicts, hurricanes, and even a volcanic eruption. For its development projects, ADRA Canada managed 96 projects, the majority of these were centred around water and agriculture. ADRA Canada began early in honing its expertise in these areas.

Our water projects from 1985-1989 were more than 30 in total. It benefited countless communities, schools, and hospitals.  It also supported from than 20 agricultural projects.