Thanapara Village is located in the northwestern part of Bangladesh on the riverbank of Padma (Ganges). During the liberation period in 1971, this quiet and peaceful village was transformed when on the 13th of April, the Pakistani Army suddenly invaded the village and killed over 100 unarmed men. This massacre was the largest atrocity in the Rajshahi District during the war. With the destruction of the male heads of household, the families in the village faced certain destitution and hopelessness.
In 1973, the Swedish organization, The Swallows, hearing of the massacre and the resultant desperation of the survivors, began a relief program on 1st October 1973 providing food and clothing to the people of Thanapara named The Swallows Association for Social Voluntary Service, Thanapara Project. The following year, a primary school was also started for the poor children and a handicraft program for the war-affected women of the village. Swallows, Sweden, funded both of these programs. In 1985, The Village Development Program was started to further develop the existing programs and to find ways to broaden program support activities for the mostly women residents of the village.
Currently, a full-time staff and representative members from all of the village programs manage the Society. The Handicrafts Program is a self-sustaining operation with 138 women and three men working regularly. The Formal Primary School has over 300 students and maintains a waiting list of needy children. The Village Development Program consists of some 5,225 members who are saving regularly.
Since gaining full independence from the Swallows Sweden organization on 1st July 1999, the Thanapara Swallows Development Society has been seeking ways to make all programs sustainable without having to rely.