top of page

© Izla Bethdavid Boltena/ADRA Sweden


During the 1960s, the Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Services, the welfare wing of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, provided humanitarian services as a department of the East-Pakistan Section of the Pakistan Union from the section office in Dacca, the capital of East Pakistan. The Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Services, or in Bangla, Seventh-day Adventist Janakollayan Sangstha (SAJS, meaning people’s welfare), was the only humanitarian service provider of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In the 1970s, the organization’s name was changed to Seventh-day Adventist World Service (SAWS). A liberation war in 1971 resulted in Bangladesh, formerly known as East Pakistan, gaining its independence from Pakistan. The Seventh-day Adventist World Service (SAWS), a voluntary non-government organization started its operation in Bangladesh at this time. SAWS worked in cooperation with the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists under the leadership of Leon N. Powrie and N. C. Dewri of the Bangladesh Union. In 1983, SAWS was renamed as Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) during the leadership of Lyle E. Spiva. The government of Bangladesh recognized the change in 1984.

After the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, East Pakistan achieved independence and was declared Bangladesh. From that time, the organization, now known as ADRA, has shared the Dhaka office premises with what is now the Bangladesh Union Mission.

During the 1980s, the staff at SAWS/SAJS in Bangladesh consisted of 25 to 30 people. It has been increasing since then, and in 2019, ADRA Bangladesh had about 238 staff members working on different humanitarian and development projects.

bottom of page