Dave from Bangladesh

Post a Comment » Written on November 22nd, 2009     
Filed under: Community Development, Disaster Relief

I’m currently traveling in Bangladesh visiting two of our CWR partners. While serving as the regional coordinator for Asia with Covenant World Mission I visited Bangladesh six or seven times. I am always struck by several things.  First is the poverty.  More than one third of the population lives on less than one dollar a day and eighty percent live on less than two dollars a day.  The poor are everywhere.  I am also struck by the crowdedness.  The country is slightly smaller than the state of Iowa with approximately half the population of the US. Bangladesh has the highest population density of the major counties in the world.  In spite of the above realities and the current global economic recession, poverty is being reduced in Bangladesh.
The devastation of Cyclone Bhola in 1970 left nearly 500,000 people dead. This was followed by the bloody war for independence in 1971. In the 70’s Bangladesh became the poster child for poverty in the world.  In recent decades the involvement of foreign aid and NGOs, and the hard work of the Bangladeshi people, poverty is being reduced, but there is still a long way to go.

Two of CWR’s partners – World Relief International and Water 1st – are doing wonderful work here through local partnerships. CWR has also provided funding for a Covenant World Mission related group to help establish one of the top tilapia fish producing businesses in the country.  This business has provided many jobs, introduced an important source of protein, and has helped the local organization to expand its ministry throughout the country.  Bangladesh is frequently hit by devastating cyclones, and on several occasions Covenant World Relief has provided emergency relief funding to our two local partners. Most recently CWR provided relief funds for Cyclone Aila which hit Bangladesh on May 25 of this year.  Hundreds of people were killed and more than one million left homeless.  I heard from our partners yesterday that many of the coastal dikes are still broken and more than 200,000 are still homeless six months later.
Bangladesh is one of those countries that does not receive much attention in the western media.  It is a wonderful country with people who continue to persist through hardship after hardship. I look forward to deepening the relationship with local partners and CWR.

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