Government Policy

Swedish envoy visits Thanapara Swallows Development Society at Charghat

Swedish Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexandra Berg

von Linde has visited the Thanapara Swallows Development Society (TSDS) at

Charghat in the district on Tuesday to see for herself its present

development activities.

TSDS Executive Director Raihan Ali said here today that the envoy was

impressed by the hand-made goods produced in the TSDS, which was established

with Swedish financial support in 1972.

During her daylong visit, she was accompanied by the Counselor of the Embassy

Jacob Itat, First Secretary Anna Svantation, and Intern Miss Lindavrin.

The four-member delegation led by the envoy held a view-sharing meeting with

TSDS Executive Director Raihan Ali and Director Mahmuda Begum, Charghat

Upazila Chairman Fakrul Islam, Upazila Nirbahi Officer(UNO) Sohrab Hossain,

Charghat Pourashava Mayor Ekramul Haque.

The Pakistani Army had killed over 400 innocent villagers at Thanapara

village under Charghat upazila in the district on this day in 1971.

On that day, hundreds of people including women and children from Thanpara

adjacent to Sardah Police Academy, half-a-kilometer north-west from Charghat

Bazar, left their houses and took shelter on the bank of river Padma.

Later, the Pakistan army surrounded them and opened fire indiscriminately,

leaving as many as four hundred people dead. The area witnessed mass killing

of Bangladeshi freedom fighters during the Liberation War.

The brutal attack by Pakistan invaders killed the unarmed men and injured

many others in the Thanapara village that was later declared as a widow

village after independence.

Representatives of the Swallows in Sweden came to work for the victims of the

Liberation War in the devastated village in a post-war time in 1972.

Meanwhile, around 300 people both male and female of martyred families have

attained economic emancipation through income-generating activities related

to handicrafts and handloom industries at the village.

In order to create self-employment opportunities, they first established

weaving and initially started training 13 widows.

At present the TSDS employs about 350 rural backward women through handicraft


The women behind these stocks are making garments through the works of yarn

dyes, weaving fabrics, hand embroidery and sewing and the garments are

exported to almost eight countries of the world.

Children's day care and primary education activities are being carried out

with productive children, including fair wages, improved working conditions,

transparency and accountability, child labor avoidance, gender equality and

timely training.

TSDS Executive Director told BSS that they are working to eliminate the

causes of poverty in the remote village and to alleviate suffering.

The Thanapara village with areas of concentration focusing on skills

development for the affected women which led to the establishment of the

handicraft program and the marginal women are becoming self-reliant through

producing the products and selling those to the international markets, he


Ali further said their mission is to empower the poor and underprivileged

population by eradicating illiteracy, creating health awareness and self-

employment, raising awareness among the landless for the rights of land and

empowering women by creating economic and social awareness.

Vision of the venture is to establish a democratic society by developing the

socio-economic condition of the poor.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha