After the regional board meeting in Asia, organised in Bogra, Bangladesh, where Pollee Unnayon Prokolpo (PUP) is based, the representatives of the Emmaus Asia groups met in the district of Rajshahi to take part in the celebrations of Thanapara Swallows’ 50th anniversary, on 16 and 17 October 2022.
This organisation, which was the first member of Emmaus International in the country, was set up in 1974 following the massacre of the men in the village by the Pakistani army during the war of independence. In order to develop economic opportunities in the village for widows and their families, Thanapara Swallows set up training and craftwork activities such as weaving, dyeing and embroidery, in line with fair trade rules.
Nowadays, to better respond to the complex situations of poverty and exclusion in rural areas, the group has also developed programmes on education, access to health care, combatting domestic violence, along with providing micro-credit and defending environmentally friendly agriculture that respects producers.
The festivities started with the lighting of 50 candles by the founders, followed by a look back at the organisation’s history. Several international guests connected remotely and shared their memories and experiences of working together. The following day, after visiting the health camp organised by the Thanapara mutual health organisation, over 450 people (local officials, journalists, representatives of partner organisations and beneficiaries) gathered for a large rally that ended with a community meal.