- One charity
- Two decades
- Five initiatives
- Eight sectors
- 25 Awards
- Hundreds of communities supported
- Millions of individuals helped
Founded in 1999 by Indian Social Entrepreneur, Anshu Gupta – known as The Clothing Man – Goonj aims to use urban discard as a tool to alleviate financial poverty and enhance the dignity of people and communities financially impoverished in India. Over two decades, Goonj’s work has ranged from rural regeneration projects to emergency relief, all linked in some way to the use of discarded, recycled materials sourced mainly from India’s cities. The award-winning impact of Goonj’s work has benefitted hundreds of communities and millions of individuals across India; saving lives, reducing financial poverty and empowering communities.
Goonj has five core initiatives:
- Cloth for Work – providing useable, recycled materials in reward for community regeneration of their local environment
- School to School – re-distributing under-used materials from affluent city schools to local village schools and pupils without resources.
- Not Just a Piece of Cloth – providing clean, re-cycled cotton cloth to provide hygienic, dignified solutions for women during menstruation.
- Rahat – Disaster relief and rehabilitation including reduction of deaths through non-availability of clothing
- Green by Goonj – the organisation’s unique brand of recycled goods made of anything from torn jeans to audio tapes and scrap printer paper.
Goonj works in eight key sectors:
- Water – from cleaning irrigation channels, to digging wells and building flood defences
- Access & Infrastructure – Goonj empowers communities to improve local villages and the surrounding area by supporting and educating them to build bridges, install electricity, improve roads and enhance public buildings.
- Education – from providing recycled teaching materials or school shoes, to helping re-build schools after floods, Goonj as played a key role in improving rural education.
- Environment – Goonj’s development of a ‘circular economy’ has helped improve both the local and global environment through the creative use of waste materials – including clothing, textiles and even plastic banners.
- Sanitation – Goonj has played an important role in helping communities improve the levels of hygiene and sanitation in entire villages, schools and individual homes.
- Health – The Goonj menstrual hygiene initiative has improved, and even saved, the lives of millions of women across India’s rural communities, simply through the recycling of cotton cloth.
- Livelihood – Millions of tons of cloth waste is generated by Indian cities. Goonj empowers rural communities to take a creative approach to recycling the waste, creating jobs and uniting people at the same time.
- Disaster Relief & Rehab – In a country frequently hit by floods, freezing winters and super-heated summers, Goonj provides material and expertise to help rural communities in times of crisis and empower them to recover and rebuild afterwards.