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Goonj

J- 93, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi, IN

Re-positioning cloth and other underutilized material, beyond charity, adding dignity and turning it into a big resource for development. Spreading the idea beyond geographical boundaries so that world over people take it as a subject to work on. GOONJ works on 3 levels:material, people & idea Material level: GOONJ started with 67 personal clothes, today dealing with more than 1000 tonnes of material to parts of 21 states of India, every year. GOONJ has over the years painstakingly built vast country wide network;sort of pipeline grid from cities to villages through which material moves continuously. While general clothes, woolens and other household material etc goes to the masses throughout the year, specifically school material including computers, mats, school building infrastructure etc (under School to school programme) goes from urban schools to resource starved small village schools while more than 2 lakh cloth sanitary napkins, every month (napkin programme) go through the same pipeline to women struggling with the universal basic need of menses. The same channel is used for reaching raw material to villages for production of various finished products, generating employment and income generation there. The channel also works towards reaching things like office equipment, basic infrastructure things for small resource starved grassroots groups, helping in their capacity building. The same network/pipeline is intensified at the time of a disaster in any part of the country to reach specific relief material quickly. People Level: GOONJ works throughout the year with urban and rural masses, involving them, engaging them in taking action for change. In the cities we work with corporates, schools, collages, NGO's, small businesses, resident welfare associations and on individual level- housewives, professionals, retired people, school children; everyone isolated from rural realities, making them aware 1. about challenges and issues of village India 2. solutions which can be achieved simply with their so called discard. Every part of the society is involved in our processes, whether it is spreading awareness, collecting material, sorting, packing or distributing; individuals and organizations play a vital role. Instead of money we stress on services which has resulted in a wide network of transporters, suppliers and other agencies that provide free or highly subsidized services. In the villages our existing network of partner organizations is the backbone of our model. The network has grown to a group of over 250 implementation partners including units of India army, NGOs, CBOs, panchayats, social activities and Ashoka fellows. Acting as the critical last leg, these partners are our hands, ears and eyes on ground. Also far from the usual perception the rural masses also do a big amount of voluntary work when they take up various development activities for their communities. The entire operation becomes sustainable, involves everybody, remains transparent & gives every stakeholder a chance to serve, without much financial burden. Idea Level: Throughout the year when we ask people in the cities to give their discard for a good cause, we not only embed the idea of looking at one's discard in a new light of how it can help someone but more importantly it helps develop in the urban masses an attitude of continuous giving, born from an empathy for village India issues and challenges. This attitude ensures a continuous supply of material in the long term. In the villages as we work closely with our partner grassroots organisations working on varied issues like land rights, health, education, nature conservation etc they have come to understand how material helps bring them close their communities and address areas where they feel financially constrained otherwise. For the rural masses the idea that they themselves have a lot of wisdom and empowerment to deal with many of their own problems without waiting for any outside agency to come to their help, is spreading fast. On a macro and systemic level, we have firmly established old material (thought fit only for charity earlier) as an equally powerful resource for development as monetary resources. In the development sector, we have brought into the agenda some basic but ignored needs and issues like clothing, yearly disasters like winters, floods or sanitary napkin for women's health; making them a matter of concern, bringing them into the list of subjects to work on. In 14 years of work GOONJ has shown that cloth & other old material is a powerful & proven tool for social change, huge resource for economic development & a valuable asset for income generation.

Meet recent donors
Kshitija Kulkarni
Igor Izyumin
Purva Joshi