Goonj is a non-governmental organisation headquartered in Delhi, India which undertakes disaster relief, humanitarian aid and community development in parts of 23 states across India. Goonj focuses on clothing as a basic but unaddressed need.
It was founded in 1999 by Anshu Gupta. For his work with Goonj, he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2015 In 2012, he was named India’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 by Schwab Foundation, a sister organization of World Economic Forum.
Goonj, formed in 1999 by Anshu Gupta, started with 67 clothes and now deals with over 3500 tonnes of material every year. It is registered under Societies Act and registered for exemption under section 80 G, 12 A and for foreign contributions- under FCRA.
Anshu’s own epiphany came in meeting a poorly-clad six-year- old girl who grew up with corpses because her father eked out a living picking up abandoned dead bodies and cremating them for a fee. When he asked the girl what she did to avoid the cold in Delhi’s harsh winter, she said: “When I feel cold, I hug a dead body and sleep.”
The 2004 tsunami gave way to Goonj's 'Not Just a Piece of Cloth' (NJPC) to emerge. The Chennai center was flooded with old but usable clothes during the relief phase. These clothes were then disinfected, washed, and recycled into pads and then placed in cotton bags to form Goonj's Dignity Kit. By 2014, 4 million pads just distributed at nominal cost of ₹2 (2.9¢ US), to the poor who cannot afford commercial sanitary pads. The campaign subsequently won the World Bank's Global Development Marketplace Award (2009) and Changemaker's Innovation Award (2009), and was LAUNCH Innovation Challenge in 2012, in "Beyond Waste" theme, which is sponsored by NASA, Nike and US Agency for International Development.
In 2009, it was one of the first organizations to join the Joy of Giving Week, later renamed Daan Utsav (Donation Festival), an annual week-long donation drive, starting Gandhi Jayanti October 2–8. During the week Goonj runs a nationwide campaign, where people from across India contribute under-underutilized goods and clothes from their homes, offices and schools in urban area to be distributed to rural and poor areas.
Cloth for Work
Goonj launched the Cloth for Work (CFW) programme, evolving two new currencies of development – material and labour. In CFW, Goonj works with partners and communities to identify infrastructural improvements that need to be undertaken in the villages. Villagers then work to dig wells, clean ponds, repair roads, and build schools in the community, for which they are compensated with material resources like clothing, utensils, furniture, and foodgrains.
Not Just a piece of Cloth
In 2004, Goonj started providing affordable (Rs.5 for a pack of five sanitary napkins) easy-to-use clean cloth napkin made out of waste cloth for women in villages and slums. They found clothing gave these women, who neglect or are ignorant of this critical health issue, a sense of dignity and self-respect. Today, Goonj pads — called MyPads is 100 per cent biodegradable, and can be either reused or disposed of.
School to School
The program uses a unique school kit designed by Goonj to promote participation of children. Goonj begins with sessions in urban school followed by a visit to the Goonj centers where they learn about recycling. Urban children contribute their old school supplies to create a school kit which consists of bags, pencils, uniforms etc. Goonj also creates activity centers in village schools and awards the school kits while engaging the children in other activities.
Ek Jodi Kapda
Joy of Exchange
In 2013, this is a joint effort by Johnson's Baby India in association with Goonj. Various dropping centers were set up to collect children clothes, toys, books and other belongings.
Look Good Do good
In 2016, the Look Good Do Good project was initiated along with Raymond which offered free custom tailoring services on new pair of trousers in exchange of old trousers. This Trouser Exchange Program offered every customer of Raymond a chance to give away their old trousers that would reach to people in need.
Goonj has engaged in flood relief activities with the "Flood Overcome" programme during the 2013 Uttarakhand floods, and on 2014 Kashmir floods through the project known as "Rahat Floods",and the 2018 kerala floods by collecting relief supplies from people across India.
- 2004: Goonj won Changemaker’s Innovation Award for its School to School initiative.
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