When we talk of basic needs, we say food, cloth & shelter, but in the list of development subjects which has more than 100 -150 issues; from domestic violence to global warming, clothing is not listed as a subject. We think of clothes during disasters only. Why a basic need of entire human kind is treated as disaster relief material? Why do we treat Cloth as mere charitable object- to donate!!
GOONJ is using under utilised cloth & other old material as a powerful & proven tool for social change, huge resource for rural/slum development & a valuable asset for income generation.
Worldwide when we think of resources for any kind of development work, we think of money. Goonj works on turning old material as a resource for hundreds of rural development activities. Communities have built huge bamboo bridges, dug up wells, have done bunding of acres of land, developed small irrigation canals, have built drainage systems, built village schools and have taken up massive exercises of repairing roads, developing water harvesting systems to cleaning up water bodies. All these works are done not by paying wages to people but by making them understand their own community power, using old material as a reward. GOONJ is using material from the cities as an entry point into people’s lives. This is a work where not only the old underutilized material fills up the gaps of resources in development works but is also dignifying the act of Giving, now thousands of people don’t get material as charity or donation but earn as reward in lieu of their work. Here are the glimpses of development works.
How do we facilitate this: Together with our grassroots partner groups working among village communities we facilitate discussions and debate around the local issues and possible developmental activities. These are small but important day to day problems, faced by the villagers, whether it’s a dirty patch surrounding the local school compound, or a broken road, or clogged drainage system or repairing kilometres of road or working across water bodies, or making a bamboo bridge etc., which are taken up by people with full enthusiasm and it creates a significant impact in their daily lives. The recipients play an active role in the thought process, its detailing, what, how,where and when, thus taking the ownership of the work done by them.
Material is used as a tool here and not just as a commodity only; thus, nurturing village people’s thought process, knowledge and empowering them to evolve innovative solutions around the local issues. On a macro level, GOONJ’s work is also setting a precedent in terms of preventing massive material wastage from becoming an environment disaster.