In Bangladesh, community groups often raise funds for projects such as road improvements and safe water and sanitation.

From: Local fundraising – Footsteps 111

Discovering the joy of inviting people to invest in our work and ministries

‘There are many people living on the street because it is difficult to find jobs,’ says Artur*, leader of a community group in the Central Asian States. ‘People come from the villages to the capital and face many problems. They start drinking – young people on the street drink a lot and in the winter many people die. We wanted to help, but we did not know how.’

Business training and seed funding provided by Tearfund’s partner made it possible for Artur and his community group to establish several small enterprises including a carpentry workshop, beehives, an animal feed mill, a breeze-block press and poultry farms for egg production.  

The profit from these initiatives helps the group to run five rehabilitation centres for people struggling with addiction, or who are newly out of prison. The businesses also provide opportunities for the residents to develop new skills and earn a small amount of money.

Leonid* manages one of the chicken farms. He says, ‘When my parents divorced I ended up on the street and made some bad friends. When I was 18 I committed crimes and was put in prison for eight years. After I was released I began to take drugs – first soft drugs and then heroin. I injected myself for seven years.

‘Then I met Artur and he helped me to get back on my feet. I do not use drugs or alcohol any more. I believe in myself now and I have new dreams for the future.’

Residents of a rehabilitation centre use this mill to prepare feed for their hens. They are also able to sell bags of chicken feed in the village, helping them to make a profit. Photo: Alice Philip/Tearfund

Residents of a rehabilitation centre use this mill to prepare feed for their hens. They are also able to sell bags of chicken feed in the village, helping them to make a profit. Photo: Alice Philip/Tearfund

Starting a business


Selling goods and services to raise funds for projects can be a good way to reduce reliance on donors. However, success depends on the market and this may change over time. Before starting, it is important to think through any risks and draw up a business plan. Most businesses will also need some start-up capital. 


Below are four things to think about when selling a product. If you are selling a service (eg cleaning), the same principles can be applied. 



To find some of the answers to these questions, visit other businesses and markets and talk to potential customers. Start small with what you have available – eg skills, premises and materials – and build from there. Seek expert advice if you need it.


*Names changed

Several men work in this warehouse, making breeze blocks to sell. They receive a small wage and the additional profits are used to support the rehabilitation centre where they live. Photo: Alice Philip/Tearfund

Several men work in this warehouse, making breeze blocks to sell. They receive a small wage and the additional profits are used to support the rehabilitation centre where they live. Photo: Alice Philip/Tearfund

For more information about how to run a small business, see Footsteps 103: Entrepreneurship.

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Cover of Footsteps 112: Communicable diseases

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