Compassion Australia

Compassion Australia is a Christian holistic child development and child advocacy organisation that works in partnership with local churches to foster the spiritual, economic, social, physical and emotional development of children living in extreme poverty in over 25 countries. Compassion Australia is based in Warabrook, NSW, and has regional offices in Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. The organisation now has over 150 committed team members and many more volunteers who offer their time, energy and skills towards the organisational vision of seeing the transformation of lives, communities and nations through releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name. Compassion Australia is a global partner of Compassion International, whose headquarters are located in Colorado Springs, United States.

Today, Compassion International supports more than 2 million children[1] through 12 international partner countries who provide the funds, resources and program development assistance that enables Compassion's programs to be implemented around the world. Over 100,000 of these children are sponsored through Compassion Australia.


Compassion started in 1952 when Reverend Everett Swanson felt compelled to help 35 orphaned children in South Korea. By 1977, Compassion was supporting more than 25,000 children. In the same year, Compassion Australia was established by Laurie and Olive McCowan from an office in their Newcastle home. Compassion Limited of Australia was officially registered in 1978 and saw over 1000 children sponsored by Australians in its first three years alone.

Compassion was one of the first non-government agencies to respond to the Rwandan genocide in 1994, raising one million dollars to support the widows and orphans left traumatised by the civil war. In 2001, Compassion Australia's founding CEO, Laurie McCowan, retired and was superseded by Paul O'Rourke, who saw 90,000 children supported through Compassion Australia before retiring in 2010. Dr Tim Hanna took the reins as CEO in June 2010. Compassion Australia currently works with eleven partner countries: United States, Canada, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, Italy, South Korea, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom.


Compassion works with the individual child from the womb to the workforce to address their spiritual, economic, social, physical and emotional needs. Compassion partners with the local church to implement their holistic child development programs:

  • Child Survival Program
  • Child Sponsorship Program
  • Leadership Development Program
  • Critical Interventions.

Countries of operation

Compassion Australia’s child development programs support the needs of individual children in over 26 developing countries around the world. Each country office is staffed by local country personnel.

Africa Asia Central America South America
Burkina Faso Bangladesh Dominican Republic Bolivia
Ethiopia Indonesia El Salvador Brazil
Ghana Philippines Guatemala Colombia
Kenya Thailand Haiti Ecuador
Rwanda Sri Lanka Honduras Peru
Tanzania Mexico
Togo Nicaragua


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