Started 18 years ago by Mr. Anshu Gupta and his team Goonj, a non-governmental organization, is a genesis of parallel economy –which is not cash based but trash based.
Goonj started with the simple idea of addressing some basic but neglected needs like clothing, which aren’t a part of the development agenda. For the last 17 years, GOONJ has been single-mindedly focussed on the basic needs of the poor; using cloth as a prime example, as an entry point into people’s lives. Using vast quantities of untapped underutilized material lying in urban homes as a powerful rural development resource, GOONJ matches material with specific needs of village communities while the actual distribution is tied in with the community working on specific development gap areas (in its own area) identified by the community itself. Every year communities take up more than 2000 different development activities like making bamboo bridges, digging wells, repairing roads, making kitchen gardens etc. and receive material.
Material motivates/nudges communities to take action against their own problems. This adds a sense of pride and dignity to receiving material while it brings a huge sense of ownership and empowerment for village communities. At an intrinsic level, as clothes & other material reach these people, it frees up their very meager resources for more urgent needs like food, health etc. Thus evolving a parallel economy which is trash based not cash based.
THE MOTTO BEHIND IT
The motto is not only to spread as an organization but as an idea so as to start the culture of regular and dignified giving. To work for the receiver’s dignity instead of the donor’s pride. They aim to increase participation, change the mindset and create awareness among people across different regions, economies, and countries.
HOW SUCCESSFUL ARE THEY AS AN NGO?
Dealing with over 3000 tons of material annually they initiate over 2000 development activities every year across 22 states of India. Their income generation initiatives like sujni making and Vappsi not only utilize the last waste of urban cloth, it also address the issue of forced migration after disasters. Under it’s Not Just a Piece of Cloth initiative Goonj has channelised over 4 million cloth pads made from urban surplus cloth to women in villages/slums and also spread awareness about key menstrual hygiene issues.The success stories of Goonj are many some of which include:
- Chosen as ‘Game Changing Innovation by NASA and US State Dept.
- Winner of World Bank’s global marketplace award
- Winner of three Changemakers Innovation Awards.
- Ramon Magsaysay 2015 award to Anshu Gupta
School to School
Urging urban masses to give their unused surplus school material for their rural counterparts.
Green By Goonj
Goonj’s recycled products label reusing and up-cycling the ultimate waste (oversized jeans, obsolete audio tapes, etc) to create employment and income generation.
Cloth For Work
Instigating large scale works on key rural issues like water, agriculture, infrastructure, sanitation etc in villages where people take up their own issues – repairing roads, digging wells to making bamboo bridges. They are in turn rewarded with the need-based material in the form of comprehensive family packs.
Not Just A Piece Of Cloth
Reaching cloth sanitary pads created out of urban underutilized cotton cloth to women in rural/remote parts of India. These pads are recycled, processed, and cleaned cotton cloth and are safe and hygienic to use during menstruation. MY Pad is a tool to open up the most taboo issue of menstrual hygiene & breaking the culture of shame and silence around it.
Working on ignored and sudden natural/human-made disasters across India. Reaching immediate relief material systematically and working long term on rehabilitation in disaster-hit areas.
CURRENT CAMPAIGNS BY GOONJ
“100,000 Acts of Giving”
Itis a pan India campaign, giving every Indian an opportunity to take out any used/unused but USABLE household material and give it like woolens, school materials, clothes, utensils etc.
“Share a Bite to your Heart’s Delight”
To check that no one sleeps hungry by distributing the contribution of rice, pulses, spices etc.
A Collection Of “One-Sided Used Paper”
For making Notepads, Annual report, Newsletters etc.
“Your Saree for Dignity”
To help women in the village and remote areas to save their dignity because a sari may be a style statement for some but for them it is dignity.
HOW ARE THEY A HELP TO SOCIETY?
Goonj is like a family to all those rural people who have put their labor and wisdom in making roads, digging wells, etc. and thus they channelise the urban collected material as a reward and not as a charity to the people in rural areas.
Goonj has transformed the culture of giving in India. It has treated cloth as a development resource for the poor and has made the world believe in the power of true giving. Let us all appreciate and spread the work of “The Clothing Man” because “NO ONE HAS EVER BECOME POOR BY GIVING”.
Join Hands With Goonj NGO!