In 1972, the Pakistani army massacred 200 men in the village of Thanapara on the banks of the River Ganges during the Bangladesh Liberation War in East Pakistan. Swedish volunteers from The Swallows provided emergency aid, while the men’s widows stated that they needed work to support their families. Weaving, dyeing, sewing and embroidery workshops were gradually set up with financial and human support from Sweden, while a primary school was founded next to the workshops for the female workers’ children. Their products were sold via the burgeoning global Fair Trade network. Thanapara Swallows Development Society has been managed solely by working class Bangladeshis since 1999. These workshops now employ over 300 women and are the main employer of women in the region. Profits fund the two schools where over 300 pupils study.
Bogura – Bangladesh