© Izla Bethdavid Boltena/ADRA Sweden
A liberation war in 1971 resulted in Bangladesh, formerly known as East Pakistan, to gain its independence from Pakistan. The nine-month war ended with more than 5 million people dead, millions of homes destroyed, the shutdown of industries and devastated communication infrastructure. Moreover, more than 10 million Bangladeshi's fled to India as refugees. In addition, recurring natural disasters like floods and cyclones crippled the country's capacity for crop production. The country was completely devastated. Thus the newly formed government welcomed foreign aid. The Seventh-day Adventist World Service (SAWS), a voluntary non-government organization started its operation in Bangladesh at this time. Its initial activities centered on relief and rehabilitation by rebuilding villages, roads, and bridges.
The name SAWS was changed worldwide to Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in 1984 (the government of Bangladesh recognized the change in 1984), and in 1988 the operational direction was focused towards humanitarian development projects. ADRA has also been involved in every major disaster response. The primary thrust of ADRA Bangladesh has been to provide resources to its target beneficiaries, mainly in rural areas, enabling them to be self-reliant.
ADRA Bangladesh is a non-governmental organization registered with the NGO Affairs Bureau Government of Bangladesh (Registration no.73), Societies Registration Act (Registration no.S-11784), as well as The Trust Act (Registration no. 13071/61) and a member of the Disaster Emergency Response (DER group) a LCG (Local Consultive Group) in Bangladesh.