RDRS Bangladesh was established as the Bangladesh field program of the Lutheran World Federation in 1972. It emerged from the Cooch Behar Refugee Service, which had assisted Bangladeshi refugees during War of Independence in 1971. In 1997, RDRS became a national NGO. It is now an associate member of LWF Geneva.
RDRS works with the rural poor in order to establish their rights as citizens; to build their capacity and confidence to advance their empowerment, and resilience to withstand adversity; and to promote good governance among local institutions and improved access by the marginalized to opportunities, resources and services necessary to fulfil decent lives.
RDRS focuses on one geographic area in Northwest Bangladesh. It has four mainstream programs:
i. Civil Empowerment
ii. Quality of Life (Health and Education)
iii. Natural Resources and Environment
iv. Economic Empowerment