Bangladesh: Celebrating 50 years of life-saving work

In a joint partnership, LWF and RDRS support livelihood resilience for Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh. Photo: Bhoj KHANAL/RDRS/LWF
In a joint partnership, LWF and RDRS support livelihood resilience for Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh. Photo: Bhoj KHANAL/RDRS/LWF

LWF congratulates RDRS on sustained work for marginalized and vulnerable communities

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation established the Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS) program in 1972 to support communities in conflict areas of greater Rangpur-Dinajpur region with relief and rehabilitation following the War of Independence of Bangladesh. The program grew from a project into an independent organization with a nationwide outreach and is celebrating 50 years of life-saving work this year.

“For half a century, RDRS Bangladesh has been partnering with marginalized and vulnerable communities including refugees, internally displaced persons, women, children, elderly and people with disabilities and supporting them in their journey to self-reliance,” wrote Maria Immonen, Director of LWF World Service in a congratulatory letter.

“For half a century, RDRS Bangladesh has been partnering with marginalized and vulnerable communities including refugees, internally displaced persons, women, children, elderly and people with disabilities and supporting them in their journey to self-reliance.”
Ms Maria Immonen, Director of LWF World Service

LWF and RDRS partner together to provide opportunities and services that currently focus on four thematic areas: civil empowerment, quality of life, food security and environment and economic empowerment. RDRS transitioned from an LWF program into an independent non-profit organization in 1997, twenty-five years after its initial creation. Since then, RDRS has reached over 3.4 million families in Bangladesh. It works with 396 community-based organizations that prioritize the empowerment of their grassroots members. RDRS currently has over 5,000 staff members, 90 percent of whom come from the communities it serves.  

“We celebrate with RDRS as one of the leading local NGOs in Bangladesh, continuing to evolve and innovate in implementing a rights-based empowerment approach through its diverse, multi-cultural team, most of whom are based at the grassroots level,” added Immonen.  

The continued collaboration between LWF and RDRS Bangladesh, has recently resulted in the LWF-RDRS Emergency Program (LREP) which is a joint response to the Rohingya crisis. The initiative will also accompany and strengthen the emergency response capacity of RDRS Bangladesh. The LREP supports livelihood resilience for Rohingya refugees and host communities while promoting income generation activities with a special focus on single mothers, widows, elderly and persons with disabilities who tend to be the most vulnerable. 

LWF World Service