Pray with Bangladesh, August 6, 2023

Pray with Bangladesh, August 6, 2023

Lectionary Selection:  Matthew 14:13-21

Prayers for Bangladesh

Gracious God, from whom all things seen and unseen have come to be, we give thanks to you for this moment to be in your presence. As we listen to your words for this day, bless us with a commitment to always heed your insistence that we cannot turn away people in need and that the only way for us all to feel sated and fulfilled is by sharing the resources you entrusted us with. On this day, we pray with our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh. We thank you for this partnership between the peoples of our two countries. We especially thank and pray for the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh and its ministry through the last 50 years. We pray for continued blessings for CCDB in its efforts to create positive social change and improve the lives of marginalized communities in need. We pray for Bangladesh to overcome current crises and achieve stability and peace with justice and reconciliation. We also pray for a fair and transparent national election in Bangladesh and for it to uphold sustainability and stability through this period and beyond. We pray that you bless all who seek to follow you with a yearning to be those loaves and fishes willing to be broken for that banquet where no one waits outside for leftovers. All of this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, the one who has broken oneself for the healing and reconciliation of the whole creation. Amen.

Prayer written by Dr. Sarosh Koshy, Global Relations Minister, Southern Asia

Mission Moment from Bangladesh

Sohagini Hemrom is an indigenous woman from Fulbanda village in the Dinajpur district with her two sons and one daughter. Her husband has mental health challenges, and he often goes away from home for extended periods, abandoning his family. For a long while, her financial condition remained precarious and challenging. It was difficult for her to manage her household expenses, and she worried about feeding her children and providing them with a good education. Day by day, her life became more and more difficult.

One day Sohagini learned about the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB) and the forum it organized in her village that offered transformative training programs. Inspired by the potential, she joined the Phulbandha Forum and began saving money. Over time, she deposited two to three thousand takas (the currency of Bangladesh). Seeking financial assistance, Sohagini approached a CCDB Forum worker and requested a loan of nine thousand takas. The CCDB worker enthusiastically supported the possibility and granted her a loan. With ten thousand takas, Sohagini leased a plot of land and ventured into farming with her sons.

Realizing the limitations of relying solely on farming, Sohagini contemplated her long-term prospects and sought a more sustainable income source. Fortunately, during that period, the CCDB’s Comprehensive Poverty Reduction Program (CPRP) was providing support through the IGA fund. Sohagini received support from CCDB, amounting to ten thousand takas, and an additional fifteen thousand takas from the Forum. She also obtained a loan of twenty-five thousand takas to bolster her business further. With a total capital of fifty thousand takas, she ventured into the grocery business, seizing the opportunity to secure a regular income for herself and her family.

After a successful year, with the profits from her shop, Sohagini paid off her whole loan of twenty-five thousand takas. Encouraged by the shop’s profitability, she borrowed an additional thirty thousand takas from the Forum. She invested it in stocking more commodities in her shop, increasing her earnings. Sohagini decided it was time to build her house as the shop thrived. Gradually purchasing bricks with the shop’s growing profits, she fulfilled her dream of constructing a four-roomed house. Sohagini’s life has transformed with CCDB’s community-building efforts, commitment to empowerment, and financial support. She opened a successful grocery shop, becoming economically independent and improving her quality of life. From enduring hardship to enjoying three meals a day, CCDB’s assistance has been pivotal in her journey of empowerment.

The Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB) is dedicated to uplifting underprivileged and impoverished women in rural areas of Bangladesh. CCDB’s mission is to create a just and caring society where marginalized individuals can claim and enjoy their human rights, ensuring sustainable livelihoods and dignity.

50 years of the glorious journey since 1973

CCDB, established in 1973, is a renowned non-profit organization in Bangladesh. It began with relief and rehabilitation efforts but later shifted its focus to poverty reduction and formal and non-formal education. Through programs like People Managed Savings and Credit, Community Based Health Care, and Disaster Management, CCDB has empowered marginalized communities. Over the last few decades, CCDB has played a significant role in nurturing hundreds and thousands of women leaders at the community level. The active participation of women has been the fundamental principle where value-based concepts, processes, and practices are emphasized. CCDB has been practicing a development model called the “People-Centered Development Approach” by putting the people at the center of development to make their lives and livelihood sustainable.

Along with its several community-based programs, in 2009, CCDB recognized the need to address climate disasters and established a dedicated Climate Change Program. The program works with coastal communities, implementing adaptation and mitigation approaches for vulnerable conditions. In 2016, the idea of a Climate Centre emerged to bridge stakeholders and benefit climate-stressed communities. The Climate Centre was inaugurated in October 2022, and since then, it has served the national and international stakeholders as a knowledge and capacity development and networking hub.

With several ongoing interventions, CCDB itself has been a learning organization that strives to confront the challenges of the context in which it finds itself. From that self-awareness and strength, it seeks to address the needs of the poor and the marginalized. CCDB is now at the stage of celebrating its 50th year of this dedicated journey of service. We seek prayers for CCDB and its leadership and the whole team to receive wisdom, strength, and perseverance as it navigates the challenges and opportunities in its path to create positive change and improve the lives of marginalized communities in need.

Economic challenges facing Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s economy faces ongoing challenges, including high poverty rates and limited access to essential services. Natural disasters like floods and cyclones pose a significant risk, disrupting economic activity and causing infrastructure and crop damage. The country is further affected by the global economic crisis, the Russia-Ukraine war, political unrest, and conflicts around the upcoming national elections. Issues such as foreign currency reserves, banking system capacity, remittance and export income, and transaction deficits are causing economic strain. Inflation is a significant concern for the general population, increasing living costs and reducing actual income. Entrepreneurs face power and energy crises, resulting in decreased production.

Mission Moment written by Ms. Juliate Keya Malakar, the Executive Director
of the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CFI)

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