Annual Report

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Founder's Note

Founder's Note

Dear Friend of Goonj,

This is an important milestone in the life of Goonj as we turned 20 this year!!

In 1999, when we started, if anyone had told us that 20 years later Goonj will be triggering over 500 hardcore rural development work every month, impacting poverty, water, sanitation, infrastructure etc. OR that we will be creating massive livelihood OR will be working pan India on disaster relief and rehabilitation OR that millions of people will join this positive movement, by turning urban surplus material as additional currency, our only reaction would have been disbelief. For an organization, working with the most neglected communities on their most ignored, un-noticed non issues, growing on this path has been a humbling and beautiful journey..

Wrapping our head around all these aspects is a big task.. a work that’s in progress right now. Just knowing that we made someone’s life a little better, made a little positive dent on how they look at their own worth and dignity, that our work reduced the burden of urban waste from landfills, makes these 2 decades worthwhile.

Now that we have our footprint in 25 states and UTs, a lot of cities and thousands of villages; a grid, a pipeline that we have laid, it’s also for a lot of new and established ideas. We invite others also to use this strong network of local resources, grassroots wisdom and people. To expedite and spread this invitation to the world, this year we triggered many firsts –A major Photo exhibition on disasters- Myths and Realities, Chaupal Meets- A Space for No Agenda Conversations and a National Dialogue on Menstruation- Missing Voices and Missing Issues.

Putting together this annual report we also notice some interesting patterns like infrastructure building, sanitation and Water emerging as the top three issues which people in villages have prioritized, to work on. Many kilometers of roads made and the handling of over 5.5 million kgs urban surplus, some of it used for creating livelihood for people, are some of the satisfying bits for us. More insights in the report.

Anshu Gupta

On behalf of Team Goonj..

Rural Impact

Rural Impact

Institutionalizing Dignity as an intrinsic part of development.

Water Resource Management

We believe that water has a direct connect with poverty and well being of rural communities. That’s why our growing work in water stressed rural areas is focused on improving their access to water for agriculture and livestock. We are targeting localized solutions by improving, repairing already present water bodies like ponds, lakes, check dams etc. We mobilize and motivate rural communities and empower them to find their own sustainable solutions. Cleaning water bodies, directing their flow, constructing new water access points and increasing water tables through rain water harvesting activities are some ideas that have emerged locally.

Access & Infrastructure

Under our Cloth for Work initiative people of rural India consistently take up a diverse range of activities to repair, rebuild and make their own roads, centers, drains, bamboo bridges etc. for the benefit of the entire village community. This year we mobilised and motivated people across India to repair/make 350+ kms. of roads, for better access. People also made/repaired their own community infrastructures like Bandstands, Community Halls, Sheds, Bus stands, Stitching Centers, Computer Centers, Libraries and other learning centers.

Agriculture & Plantation

The focus is clearly visible with 145 plantation drives, leading to planting and nurturing of 22,614 trees and 136 activities conducted around Kitchen Gardens, to improve the nutrition of women specially pregnant/ lactating mothers and children.
Land bunding and community farming work also saw a quantum increase this year.


Every year Goonj has been increasing its work on Sanitation to make the lives of rural communities better. The direct benefit to communities is safer access to water, improved health of water bodies and prevention of disease. Our work on toilets and bathrooms by involving women has also given them a voice in decision making regarding their needs for dignity, health and hygiene.

Menstrual Health & Hygiene Management

Menstrual Health & Hygiene Management

Highlighting menstruation as a HUMAN issue 

Not Just a Piece of Cloth (NJPC)

Our teams/partner organizations held 2,200+ Chuppi Todo Baithaks (Break the Silence Meetings) across 1,500+ villages. More than 93,000 people, mostly women & adolescent girls attended these sessions. We reached 1,240,700+ cloth pads and 101,300+ undergarments to rural women across India. Together with other basic needs material for women, MY Pads and undergarments are bundled together as Dignity Packs The cloth pads . called MY Pads, are safe, reusable and biodegradable

Filling critical gaps in education

Filling critical gaps in education

Bridging resource disparity and dignifying learning

School to School (S2S)

The School to School (S2S) initiative connects urban schools surplus to improve the learning infrastructure of small village schools. In rural India we reached 147,400 children in 2200+ schools, aanganwadis and other educational setups in 1500 villages. We channelised 52,000+ School Kits and pairs of shoes, 102,100+ mostly to children in villages and slums. We also channelized 164,400+ books and notebooks to village schools.

Creating livelihood with urban surplus

Creating livelihood with urban surplus

Sujnis, Aasans & Green By Goonj

The Sujnis (patch work quilts) and Aasans (sitting mats) made from last shreds of cloth are a vital addition to our material Kits reached under our Cloth for Work, RAHAT and School to School initiatives. They also serve as a means of livelihood to hundreds of women who make them.

1,300+ people, most of them women, make their livelihood revival initiative and others, from this work. In the process we channelised 0.78 million Kgs. (780 Tonnes) of textile waste to create Sujni, Aasan, MY-Pad, Undergarments and also made hundreds of environment friendly recycled products under our Green by Goonj initiative.

Disaster Response

Disaster Response

Mobilizing local communities as stakeholders for relief and rehabilitation


Working in a wide range of disasters for 2 decades now, Goonj has developed a reliable and time-tested disaster response strategy starting with a hub and spoke model for relief followed by massive rehabilitation & livelihood revival operations. Beyond the relief phase as we continue to reach urgent essential material, in the rehabilitation phase we involve the disaster hit communities in reviving and repairing their own damaged infrastructure as well.

Cyclone Titli in Odisha

Under our RAHAT initiative we reached 4727 affected families with relief kits in 115 villages of Gajapati, Ganjam, Kendrapada, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Khurdha and Kalahandi Districts. Our teams also mobilized the affected communities to undertake 137 massive community rehabilitation development projects

Cyclone Gaja in Tamil Nadu

We reached out urgently needed relief materials like Dry rations, toiletries, Clothes, Blankets etc. to 3,500 affected families in Nagappatinam, Pudukottai, Thiruvarur and Thanjavur districts.

Floods in Northeast India

We reached out urgently needed relief material to 5,425 flood affected families in Assam and 435 families in Mizoram and 629 families in Nagaland after devastating oods last year. Our teams also mobilised and motivated local communities and involved them in massive community rehabilitation works.

Kerala floods work (Aug18 – Mar19)

Setting up Operations and team

Goonj had never worked in Kerala before. The floods became our entry point to take up massive relief operations that started within 15 days of the day Anshu Gupta,Founder Director Goonj, landed in Cochin.

Initial Relief Work

a three-member team headed by our Founder was instrumental in setting up three hubs in Kochi, Changanassery & Wayanad. The team forged partnerships with local organizations, volunteers and local authorities to organize hubs and facilitated logistics etc. These centrally located hubs supported Goonj’s larger relief and rehabilitation operations across the

Pan India work

Teams across India and Kerala partnered with RWA’s, corporates, institutions and volunteers. Our Kerala team connected with local youth associations, gram panchayats, church etc. to reach relief in remote affected areas. Parallel teams were also constituted for ground survey of institutions such as schools, aanganwadi etc. to identify gaps and plan interventions around them.

Ongoing Rehabilitation work

While the relief work continued even during the rehabilitation phase, Goonj evolved a localized human centered response by mobilizing, motivating and empowering local affected communities as equal stakeholders. Our focus is on engaging people in reviving their own damaged infrastructure, creating local livelihood and using the relief material as a reward for their efforts.

Key Facts

1. Goonj provided livelihood to more than 350 people in Kerala
2. We have reached more than 62,000 families as part of our relief and rehabilitation work in Kerala, till March 2019
3. Implemented 442 community rehabilitation projects on water, infrastructure development, vegetable farming, backwater cleaning, check dams and massive sanitation drives.

Innovative Interventions

(including basic tools like Reached 5000+ Tool kits hammer, nails, rope, bulb and electric wires) which proved useful to floods affected population returning to their homes. – Provided milk cans and cattle feed to over 300 adversely affected farmers, part of a Milk CoOperative in Wayanad.

Using floods waste cloth to restore local livelihood

Goonj has used post disaster waste cloth effectively to create Sujnis (patch work quilts), Aasans (sitting mats), Jholas (vegetable cloth bags) etc. In Kerala our expert teams have trained local women in making products from trucks of cloth waste, to create livelihood opportunities for them. We also supported creation of Stitching and Tailoring Centres to engage women in Jhola, Nighty making. Training in stitching was imparted to over 100 women and over 150 sewing machines were also provided to support livelihood.

Working with Different Communities

Weaver Community

The floods devastated stacks of white Mundus and Thorthu for the Onam festival, impacting the livelihood of the weaver community in Chendamangalam locality in Ernakulam. Goonj reached tool kits (as a part of relief kits) to 140 women weavers, who used them to repair their handloom machines.

Coir Making Community

In the Alappuzha district Goonj identifed a coir making community who had lost their spinning machines in floods. We reached 45 coir spinning machines to this community help them revive their livelihood.

Single mothers and housewives

Individual/small groups from weaker economic backgrounds and remote areas were supported for setting up snack making units. Goonj facilitated initial support by providing bulk raw material to get them started including providing things like commercial stoves, utensils, aluminium vessels, sealing/weighing machines, oil etc. to make tapioca chips and banana chips, unniyappam, murukku, Idiyappam etc. Over 7 such snacks units are functional now.

Bamboo artisans

We also supported communities of artisans to make bamboo based kitchenware (puttu maker etc.) and Bamboo racks for local schools, aanganwadis and
libraries. This not only revived a lost art form but also gave an impetus to the local economy.

Coconut Climbing Machines for farmers

30 coconut climbing machines provided to local coconut farmers to increase their efficiency and ease of work

Urban Operations

Our work across urban India has a symbiotic circular relationship with what we do across rural India. In the last 2 decades, our sustained engagement with urban masses including organizations and individuals from all walks of life has created a strong culture of mindful giving.

Urban Operations

Our work across urban India has a symbiotic circular relationship with what we do across rural India. In the last 2 decades, our sustained engagement with urban masses including organizations and individuals from all walks of life has created a strong culture of mindful giving.

Awareness cum Collection Camps and Stalls

This year 650+ collection drives as awareness camps, stalls and book fairs were held across India by our teams, volunteers and contributors

Daan Utsav ( Joy of Giving Week )

(2nd – 8th Oct, 2018)

Our teams and volunteers collectively organized 150+ collection drives across 28 cities just during this campaign. This year Daan Utsav followed the horrifc floods in Kerala and Northeastern states. Our campaign Dil Ki Suno Kuch Karo (Listen to your heart, do something) during this festival of Giving appealed to individuals, schools, volunteers, corporate chains, hotels and other stakeholders to contribute for our ongoing floods relief and rehabilitation work.

Jagriti Yatra ( 5th January 2019)

Jagriti Yatra, the train journey to meet role models across India, has been coming to meet our Founder Mr. Anshu Gupta for more than a decade now. On 5th January 2019, a vibrant group of over 500 yatris visited Goonj’s Centre in Sarita Vihar, New Delhi and listened to our Founder. Our teams pulled out all stops to make it a gala learning, fun and interactive event with book stalls, Green By Goonj product stalls and other aspects.

Celebrating Global Menstrual Hygiene Day

(28th May, 2018)

Goonj launched ‘Raise Your Hand’ campaign this year to open up conversations among the common masses to normalize this taboo subject. Our aim was also to raise resources to reach Menstrual ‘Dignity Packs’ to women in far flung rural India. With webinars, digital resources, tool kits and training sessions, we encouraged people across urban India to hold Chuppi Todo Baithaks (Break the Silence Meetings) in their own networks. The campaign ran for almost 2 months garnering active participation from across India. There was participation of corporate employees in Delhi to tea plantation workers in West Bengal to adolescent school goers in Bihar to people in remote villages of Odisha to domestic workers in Bangalore and even BRO migrant laborers working in Indo-China border of Uttarkashi. Each Baithak uncovered many personal stories of women enduring hardships and struggles of menstrual discrimination triggering important conversations on the dignity of menstruating women.

Co-Branded campaigns

Co-Branded campaigns


New things this year

New things this year

Chaupal 2019

Goonj successfully completed 2 decades of work this year. We decided to celebrate this milestone creating a platform for deep agenda less conversations across multiple cities with Chaupal – Annual No Agenda Conversations’ series. Chaupal held in 8 cities over February and March 2018, successfully brought together like minded people from all walks of life and created special spaces for conversations on subjects importance to all of us. The diverse topics and speakers brought together corporate stalwarts to development sector experts to intellectuals from academia as well as general masses.

On this special occasion ‘ Sochta Hoo ’ a collection of thoughts and pictures by our founder was also unveiled.

Launching Goonj Fellowship

A long held dream came true as we launched Goonj Fellowship in July 2018. The first cohort of 15 fellows from diverse backgrounds set on a year long experiential learning journey. There was a detailed search and selection process lead by a team of internal and external experts across 3 cities. The goal of the fellowship is to give India’s youth a firsthand opportunity to understand and experience grassroots issues of rural and urban India.

Exhibition on Disasters

A specially curated exhibition showcasing Goonj’s two decades of disaster relief and rehabilitation work was held from 27th-31st March, 2019 at Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi. The main attraction of the exhibition were 45 selected photographs shot by our Founder Anshu Gupta, showcasing his personal journey of covering 40+ disasters; from Kashmir earthquake to Kosi floods in Bihar to Odisha super cyclone to floods in Kerala. The exhibition also shedlight on some ignored disasters like winters, annual floods that Goonj has been highlighting persistently over the years. Also showcased was a powerful collation of insights, strategies, innovations and learning’s from Goonj’s short and long term disaster relief and rehabilitation work.

Goonj Stamps

These stamps are an artistic glimpse of our work that’s giving people another reason and way to join our work.

Available in different denominations, these stamps are  a beautiful reminder that With Your Material Money Matters, for our growing pan India logistical operations including processing and transportation. .

Highlights of 2018-19

Highlights of 2018-19

1. Operations in 25 States and Union Territories.

2. Reached out to 4600+ villages.

3. Mobilized 6200+ development activities under Cloth for Work initiative.

4. Dealt with 5.5 million Kgs (5500 Tonnes) of material out of which approx.780 Tonnes of textile waste used to create innovative up cycled handmade products, Sujni, Aasan, My-Pad etc.

5. Reached out 248,400+ carefully designed ‘Family Kits’ comprising basic essentials impacting more than 1.2 million people. Out of which 101,100+ families reached out through our disaster relief and rehabilitation work under the initiative ‘Rahat‘.

6. Reached out to 93,000+ people under the initiative ‘Not Just a Piece of Cloth.’ Reached 1,240,700+ cloth sanitary pads (My Pads) and 101,300+ undergarments to women and adolescent girls.

7. Reached out to 147,400+ students under the initiative ‘School to School’.

8. 650+ collection drives as awareness camps, stalls & book fairs across major urban hubs.

Rural Development Work

Issue wise


3 Year Overview