Swarupantor Community Livelihoods

SWARUPANTOR COMMUNITY LIVELIHOODS

Launched in 2012, the Swarupantor programme takes its inspiration from Africa. The Swahili word ‘Umoja’ means ‘Unity’, and it signifies a process of transformation that brings with it self-respect, self-reliance and positive change. Community development programmes with the name ‘Umoja’ can be found in many African countries. The Church of Bangladesh has adopted the Umoja concept, renaming it ‘Swarupantor’ to make it resonate more with the Bengali people.

The goal of Swarupantor is to inspire people to live and work together with a stronger Christian faith; to be self-reliant but at the same time to value others - all working together to create a transformative society that is free of discrimination, poverty, hunger and the bondage of slavery. It achieves this by teaching local people the Umoja/Swarupantor approach, and then encouraging them to form self-help groups. By doing this whilst continuing to share the Gospel with people, communities are encouraged to grow together both spiritually and socio-economically. Ultimately, Swarupantor seeks to create a vibrant, spiritual and transformative environment with Christ’s love and the Word of God.

In 2019, Swarupantor focused part of its work on the Santal – the largest minority ethnic group in northern Bangladesh. The programme gave Santali community groups practical assistance in savings and loan management, income generation and self-help group building. Some 13 households received interest-free loans to go towards rearing goats and growing vegetables and other crops. Swarupantor also helped set up a women’s group, which now meets for Bible studies and makes frequent visits to the sick and the elderly at their homes.

Swarupantor has proven to be a dynamic way to help local churches work together with their communities in addressing needs using their own resources. It has brought remarkable transformation to local churches and their communities in Bangladesh today.