Internationally, World Vision came out of the passion of Robert Pierce, a war correspondent moved by orphaned children in Korea in 1947. Touched by the plight of White Jade, a little Korean orphan girl, he gave five dollars initially to the warden of a mission house and later continued supporting her. This grew to become what World Vision is today.
In India World Vision's work began in the year 1958 in a small way in Calcutta. Today, more than 1700 staff work in over 5000 communities, touching the lives of a little over 2,25,000 children, their families and communities.
The founder, Robert Pierce was a war correspondent in the Korean War. The time was 1947 and the place, China. Bob (Robert) Pierce visited many places in China and spoke with various groups of people.
His last stop was at the University of Amoy on Amoy (now Xiamen) Island in the Formosa Strait, where he was speaking to hundreds of college students. Upon hearing him, a tall Dutch lady named Tena asked Dr. Pierce to stay over and speak to the 400 children, attending her school.
Dr. Pierce readily agreed. The next four days were spent talking to the school children. On the morning of the day he was leaving Amoy, Bob stopped by the school to say goodbye to Tena and thank her for the opportunity to speak to the children.
Instead of the gracious early morning reception he had expected, a distraught woman met him at the front door. In her arms was a child. The little girl was sobbing. Her back was a lurid pattern of red lines and purple blotches. She had obviously been beaten and whipped. Her thin dress was soaked with blood. Her eyes were puffy from crying, and she held on to Tena's neck as if her life depended on it.
Tena thrust the traumatized little girl into Bob's arms and said, "I have six other children already sharing my rice bowl!"
Bob held the child awkwardly. White Jade wrapped her arms around his neck and rested her head on his shoulder. Every few moments, she shuddered with sobs. Tears streamed down Tena's red face. Her lip quivered, but her jaw was clenched. The pain in her eyes demanded an answer.
Bob realized that the incredibly vulnerable child in his arms was very precious. And she needed to be cared for.
"All I have is five dollars", he said meekly to Tena. The bold and confident Pierce was humbled by the need of the precious child he held. He gave all he had to Tena and requested her to admit White Jade in her school. He promised that he would mobilize more money for her when he reached his home.
And thus, with five dollars and the will to make a difference to one precious child was born a ministry that has grown over the years and is dedicated to caring for the White Jades of this world. Propelled by the prayer that Pierce wrote in the flyleaf of his Bible,"Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God," - this gift of love launched a movement called World Vision.
From these humble roots, World Vision has grown into an international partnership helping children around the globe. Today, World Vision India is an important member of this partnership, which works in 97 countries and is a leader in Transformational Development for the poor, in emergency relief and food distribution.