GOONJ is focused on the basic need of clothing for the underprivileged, an issue which is not on any development agency’s agenda. GOONJ recycles material from resource rich urban India to resource and opportunity starved rural India. Giving cloth as charity is an age-old tradition, but GOONJ has moved the cloth and other old material from the realm of charity, and instead positioned it as a powerful tool for rural empowerment and development work. Today GOONJ deals with over 1000 tonnes of material annually through a nationwide network of over 250 grass-root organizations.
GOONJ has also emerged as one of the biggest relief agencies in the wake of national disasters.
GOONJ’s work can be divided into 5 main initiatives:
• Vastra Samman: This is GOONJ’s campaign to spread awareness in urban India about the various issues and problems of village India. This awareness translates into collection of vast quantities of cloth and other household material.
• Cloth For Work (CFW): Cloth is a synonym of dignity. We turn second-hand cloth into a resource for much needed development work in Indian villages. GOONJ and its grassroots partner groups involve the local villagers in addressing their own neglected development issues, whether repairing a road, cleaning up a school compound or building a bridge. The villagers then get clothes as motivation and not as charity.
• School to School (S2S): Materials like old books, uniforms, shoes and school bags are collected from city children and passed on to thousands of village children who otherwise have none. This motivates the country children to learn. It is not charity but a reward for good behaviour, attitude and performance.
• Not Just a Piece of Cloth (NJPC): Countless women in villages use rags during their menses, potentially leading to disease. GOONJ is making and providing clean cloth pads to rural and disadvantaged city women and is actively campaigning throughout India to generate awareness on this taboo issue.
• Rahat: Known for its needs-based and systematic relief work, GOONJ has been active in relief operations during all the major disasters since the Chamoli earthquake in 1999. Currently we are working across the flood affected parts of Uttarakhand and Orissa. We worked extensively at the time of Kosi floods in Bihar, where we distributed over 1500 tonnes of material.
Click here to watch an inspiring talk given by Anshu Gupta about GOONJ's work