Anshu Gupta, this year’s winner of the Ramon Magsaysay awards distributes over 2000 tonnes of clothing, including bio-degradable sanitary pads every year through his charity Goonj.
The best part is that the charity does not just hand-over the donations, but gives it as a ‘payment’ in kind towards community work. This has a two-fold benefit – not only does it uphold the dignity of those who are being helped, it also encourages them improve their own surroundings and living conditions as a group. An example is the pond-cleaning drive at Odisha, India, pictured below:
Goonj is 16 year old non-profit which works across India with offices in 11 cities and implementation work in parts of 21 states of India. Goonj primarily uses underutilized urban material – almost anything and everything that can be reused in urban homes, schools, collages, institutions, corporates, processes it and then reached it out to rural communities as a reward, who work on improving their own community and environment in return for this material.
Starting as a freelance journalist, Anshu left a corporate job in 1998 and founded GOONJ with a mission to make clothing a matter of concern and to bring it among the list of subjects for the development sector.
Anshu’s work with GOONJ goes to a core challenge of our times; the growing gap between the urban prosperity & rural poverty. His work has a game changing element in many ways; he has taken the menacing growth of urban waste and used it effectively and efficiently as a tool to trigger large scale development work on diverse issues; roads, water, environment, education, health etc. in some of the most backward and remote pockets of India. Not only is the so called urban waste addressing ignored basic needs it’s turning out to be a valuable asset for income generation. Bridging the massive gap of social and economic inequities between urban and rural India in an innovative way, Anshu has created a new dynamic focused on the receiver’s dignity rather than the donor’s pride.
WINTER CLOTH DONATION CAMPAIGN – Odha To Zindagi by Goonj
This winter, Goonj’s plan to reach out over a million pieces of woolens and blankets under its annual winter campaign Odha Do Zindagi (ODZ). Under this campaign Goonj is urging people in cities across India to take out and contribute their underutilized woolens and blankets for people who struggle in the cold.
What can you contribute: Woolens, blankets & shawls, jeans/trousers, sarees, bedsheets & curtains, school material and utensils.
You can also organise a collection drive in schools, educational institutes & corporates or residential areas..and contact Goonj.
Visit the Goonj website – www.goonj.org for information regarding collection camps and Goonj offices across different cities in India. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 011-41401216, 26972351 Monday through Saturday 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.