Knowing Goonj

  • The first to- Highlight clothing as a basic but unaddressed need which deserves a place on the development agenda.
  • The first to- Reposition discard of urban households as a development resource for villages.
  • Evolve the genesis of a parallel economy- which is not 'Cash' based but'Trash' based.
  • Evolve two powerful new currencies for development work, i.e., Material and Labor.
  • GOONJ has the rare distinction of an equally vast reach among the masses in the villages as well as the cities across India.

Impact & Innovation

  • Annually deal with over 3000 tons of material.
  • Annually initiates over 1500 development activitiesunder its flagship initiative'Cloth for work'(CFW): from repairing roads, recharging water ponds, building bamboo bridges to digging wells.
  • Rural communities receive clothes & other material as reward for their labor.
  • Some macro outcomes of this multi sectoral work; Long term impact on curbing migration, improved sanitation & health and enhancing economic activities etc.
  • A systematic approach to large scale disaster relief & rehabilitation work with many innovative ideas.
  • Focus on different gaps in the larger disaster work.
  • Evolved income generation initiatives like Sujni, school bags making, Vaapsi, Village Hats (markets) and tailoring centers to bring back disaster hit local economy to normalcy.
  • Turned massive disaster wastage into resource for development work. Right from Gujarat earthquake to Tsunami, Bihar floods (2008), Andhra floods, Uttarakhand floods, J&K floods, etc.
  • Over 3.0 million sanitary pads produced out of waste cloth & reached to villages/slums as a viable solution & powerful tool to open up taboo subject of menses.
  • Using urban discard for rural income generation; Over 5,00,000 KGs of throw away waste cloth converted into traditional mattress/quilt (Sujni).
  • Urban school material acts as incentive to get rural children to school. Enhance their learning experience, freeing up the meager resources of the parents for other pressing needs.

Systemic changes

  • Instead of disaster based sporadic collections, GOONJ has built a culture of regular givingthroughout the year.
  • Goonj's work on menstrual hygiene awareness is opening up aspects of life usually thought too private or dangerous to talk about or make public.
  • Goonj's Cloth for Work initiative is enabling communities to confront their realities,encouraging them into action.
  • Addressing gap areas in the work of other development agencies especially at the time of disasters.
  • Freeing up of meager resources; affords value addition and economic development to the last person. A person's limited resources freed up to fulfill more critical needs of food or health etc.
  • Catalyzing development activities- Goonj initiates activities otherwise left off due to lack of funds, with material as currency/reward instead of money.
  • Constructively reviving and strengthening rural volunteerism, to solve its own problems, digging deep into the age old wisdom and knowledge base of the villages.
  • Inculcating respectful giving attitude in urban communities.

Cost effective

  • Hard core on ground work across 22 states.
  • Idea level advocacy.
  • Communication, collection, all logistics, rigorous processing, need based dispatches to remote parts of the country.
  • Valueadd to absolute waste un-wearable/unusable material, turning it into 'Green by Goonj' products.
  • Preventing material from becoming an environmental disaster in landfills.
  • Capacity building of hundreds of organizations and million of people.
  • Opening up many hidden/ignored/taboo subjects.
  • Building up a movement with large scale civic participation in urban and rural India.
  • Village level employment especially for women.
  • A fulfilling fulltime job to 200+ people & large scale infrastructure works in the villages, saving millions of rupees by using city discard material as a reward!!
  • Strengthening the existing systems like Asha network, SHGs, Aanganwadis etc.


  • Growing transport costs & rentals for storage space, people and admin.
  • Better and bigger infrastructure
  • Using technology across Goonj's urban and rural operations to make our work more efficient and effective.
  • Lack of research on impact, knowledge, new ideas, innovative approaches in our work.
  • Gaps in the supply of specific material like cotton cloth, saris, children clothing, school material, winter clothing & blankets etc.
  • Sustained financial resources for work on ignored aspects.
  • Strategic second line leadership.

Our ethos, beliefs, values

  • To grow as an idea, not just as an organization across different regions, economies and countries.
  • To use material as a tool to bring ignored issues to light, to talk about basic needs.
  • To bring communities together, to make them aware of their own power, to increase people's participation, to change mindsets.
  • To improve upon the present rural infrastructure.
  • To value potential instead of fixing targets.
  • To turn the age old charitable act of giving old material into a development resource. We don't promote charity.
  • To focus on the receiver's dignity instead of the donor's pride.
  • We strongly believe that when people say we want to donate our used clothes- that it's actually discarding of something that has been used to the maximum.
  • A strong belief in the wisdom of people we are working for; to find solutions to their own problems.
  • As far as possible not to spend money on our own infrastructure, furniture etc. instead use old material- right from table, chairs and computers to office stationary.
  • To make positive word of mouth spread as our biggest strength.
  • Instead of trying to do everything on our own we use the strength of collaboration with various stake holders.

Our focus

In the race of development we all are too focused on machines i.e. the big, known issues, ignoring the needles- the most important basic needs.

 At GOONJ our focus is these needles.- With a large scale civic participation it is not only becoming a big people’s movement for developement but is also creating a parallel economy where every work doesn’t have to wait for money; huge quantities of old re-usable material becomes a valuable resource.Over the last decade a parallel economy which is not CASH based but TRASH based, is emerging.

 GOONJ has reachedparts of 22 states in partnership with over 250 grass-root organizations, Ashoka Fellows, social activists & social movements. Apart from thousands of volunteers all across, GOONJ has a formal team of 200+ people with 12 offices across India.

Your action points

1. Start a Goonj Ki Gullak, to know more see this link

2. Organise a Goonj Collection Camp in your residential area, school, college, corporate.

3. Spread awareness about the idea in your own network of friends, family and work place.

4. Lead a payroll giving initiative for GOONJ in your organization.

5. Connect us to pro bono/subsidized space & transportation for Goonj in different cities/states.

6. Become our technology partner to make our work more effective and efficient.

7. Be our knowledge management partner.

8. Join Goonj's Team 5000.

9. Study/research on Goonj's work and impact and innovative ideas.

10. Starting a Friends of Goonj chapter in your city.

11. Contributing you export surplus, surplus inventory to Goonj. 

Please Note: Due to customs and other regulations Goonj does not accept material contributions from abroad.

 GOONJ is a tool to experiment, to innovate some unconventional ideas that gets space in the development process and get each one to think out of the box.. and take some action!!


  • July'16:CNBC TV18 Young Turks Change Agent awardto Anshu Gupta
  • July'15:Ramon Magsaysay Award 2015 to Anshu Gupta
  • Nov'14:Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award
  • July'14:Goonj is in the'The Purpose Economy 100 Asia' list
  • July'14: Chosen among 100 leading Global Green Innovations by Think Tank SUSTAINIA
  • Feb'14: Listed by Fast Company among World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in India
  • Nov'12: 'Social Entrepreneur of the year award' by Schwab Foundation (sister concern of World Economic Forum) to Anshu Gupta.
  • July'12: Recognized as'Game Changing Innovation' by NASA & US State Dept.
  • June'12 GDN-Japanese Award for Most Innovative Development Project
  • Feb'12: Edelgive Social honor for Not Just a Piece of Cloth (NJPC) initiative
  • Nov'10: Anshu Gupta listed in Forbes as one of  India's most powerful rural entrepreneurs.
  • May'10: 'Innovation for India' award by Marico
  • March'10: Jamnalal Bajaj CFBP Award for 'Fair Practices'
  • Nov'09:Lien i3 Challenge Award’ for the  initiative Cloth for Work (CFW)
  • June'09: Changemaker's Innovation Award for the initiative 'Not just a piece of cloth'
  • March'09: CNN IBN's'Real Heros' award to Anshu Gupta
  • March'08: 'India NGO of the year'award by Resource Alliance.
  • May'07: GOONJ's NJPC initiative won World Bank's Global Development Market Place Award.
  • 2006: Changemaker's Innovation Award, for Not just a piece of cloth(NJPC) initiative
  • 2004: Ashoka Fellowship to Anshu Gupta
  • 2004: GOONJ won Changemaker’s Innovation Award for its School to School (S2S) initiative.

Thanks for your time at GOONJ..