ELCA companions in Bangladesh
Who are our companions in Bangladesh?
Who is the Bangladesh Lutheran Church and what are its ministries?
Visually impaired children in a classroom with a teacher, who is also blind
The Bangladesh Lutheran Church (BLC)
, a member of the Lutheran World Federation
, has 2,700 members in 110 congregations, grouped into seven circuits, all in the northwestern part of the country. What is Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh and what are its ministries?
Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh
Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh
was established in 1992 through the collaborative efforts of the ELCA Global Mission and a consortium of congregations in Minnesota. The institution has grown enormously through the years. It is active in the Patuakhali and Madaripur districts located in south Bangladesh. Its priorities include:
- Provide quality health care services to women and children in Dumki, a rural area in south Bangladesh
- Improve rural economy by assisting and supporting saving groups among women
- Provide contamination-free water in regions affected by arsenics through a deep well building project (SWAMP)
LHCB has a 25-bed hospital for women and children as well as a clinic in the southern rural community of Dumki. In 2008, it opened a new male ward in the hospital campus, providing more services to the community. Every year, more than 15,000 women and children are treated through the hospital, the clinic and mobile clinics. In addition, LHCB has a substantial community development program and a clean-water project in the Madaripur District.
Prior to 2005, LHCB helped develop and maintain 300 women’s micro-saving groups in the Dumki area. In addition, LHCB is involved in disaster relief and is an implementing member of Action of Churches Together International.What is Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Development Services and what are its ministries?
Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Development Services (RDRS)
Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh Deep Well Project
was set up in 1971 by LWF/World Services and became a localized NGO registered in Bangladesh in 1997. RDRS is a comprehensive relief and development NGO providing services to marginalized people living in northwest Bangladesh, specifically in the greater Rangpur and Dinajpur region - the most remote areas in Bangladesh. Women and children, in particular, are recipients of RDRS services. The programs include empowerment of women, education & training, community health, HIV/AIDS prevention & education, micro-finance, agriculture improvement, and disaster-preparedness. Every year, nearly 2 million individuals are beneficiaries of the RDRS programs. How do the companions in Bangladesh and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America accompany one another in ministry?
Through the churchwide ELCA Global Mission unit, the ELCA relates to and is in bilateral relationship with over 80 companion churches and institutions. The ELCA Global Mission unit stewards a relationship with the Bangladesh Lutheran Church, Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh and Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Development Services.Churchwide funding
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by companions in Bangladesh of healthcare and community development for the most vulnerable, particularly women and children. The ELCA has three mission personnel serving in Bangladesh.
The ELCA also funds significant work through the Lutheran World Federation. The Lutheran World Federation, with a membership of 140 churches (including the ELCA) and 68 million people, provides space for Lutherans from around the world to share joys, challenges, and expertise as they seek the healing of the world. ELCA World Hunger funds help support the Department for World Service (DWS), the LWF’s relief and development arm, and the Department for Mission and Development (DMD), which focuses on holistic ministries through which the church participates in God’s mission to all creation.
In Bangladesh, the LWF relates through Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS - see description above), which is an associate program of the LWF.
Bangladesh: the context where our companions serve
Bangladesh, meaning “Bengal Country,” became independent from Pakistan in 1971 after years of tension and conflict between East and West Pakistan. The new country became a parliamentary democracy under a 1972 constitution. It is a predominantly Muslim country with a very small minority of Christians.
Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely populated countries, with its people crammed into a delta of rivers that empties into the Bay of Bengal. Poverty is deep and widespread; almost half of the population lives on less than one dollar a day. In spite of it, Bangladesh has made major strides to meet the food needs of its increasing population, through increased domestic production augmented by imports. Nonetheless, an estimated 10% to 15% of the population faces serious nutritional risk. Bangladesh's predominantly agricultural economy depends heavily on an erratic monsoonal cycle, with periodic flooding and drought. Although improving, infrastructure to support transportation, communications, and power supply is poorly developed. Bangladesh is limited in its reserves of coal and oil, and its industrial base is weak. However, the country's main endowments include its vast human resource base, rich agricultural land, relatively abundant water, and substantial reserves of natural gas.
For more information on Bangladesh, type “Bangladesh" into an online search engine or visit these links: