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Taking care of Mother Nature…strengthening lives

Taking care of Mother Nature…strengthening lives

Located in the foothills of the Aravalli, Alshigad village in Udaipur district of Rajasthan has been subjected to continuous deforestation and soil erosion for a long time. It was in the wake of this situation that the concerned villagers decided to act on it. Soon, they were joined by their brethren who had migrated to the cities but had returned to the village following the lockdown.

Motivated by Goonj and our partner organization,

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Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

The temple of Chowdeshwari in Srinivaspur village of Kolar district in Karnataka is a century-old structure wrapped in history and beauty. Located close to it is the temple pond from where the locals had been drawing their drinking water since time immemorial. Added to that, the pond was also used by the devotees for their ritual cleansing and other related activities. However, with the passage of time, neglect and as a result of being left unused,

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Giving wings to hope with a poultry farm

Giving wings to hope with a poultry farm

Narayanjote village in Jalpaiguri recently witnessed how the collective efforts and resolve of families towards the building of a community poultry farm could bring about a bright ray of hope for a stable livelihood in spite of the trials posed by Covid. With one of the families even offering their farmland for free, along with Goonj’s initial one-month support of chicks, feed and medicines under ‘Vaapsi’ initiative, things began to take shape.

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Ensuring quality with Groundnut procurement

Ensuring quality with Groundnut procurement

In Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts of Odisha, villagers being marginal and small-time farmers have been facing distress sale of groundnut since the beginning of the pandemic. Goonj reached out to families under its ‘Vaapsi’ initiative and procured tonnes of groundnut, to be added to its relief kits. Our teams, during the Rahat-COVID work in the area, were surprised to come across chemical-free, superior quality groundnuts being readied and sold at throwaway prices.

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Tuning to smell and taste with tea packet making

Tuning to smell and taste with tea packet making

In Keranipara of Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal, Goonj reached out to support a group of people under ‘Vaapsi’ initiative towards the procurement of packets of tea leaves. Hailing from ethnic tribal communities, they were earlier employed by the local electricity department. However, with the advent of digital meter boards, they too were forced to look for other employment options. As the Dooars region of North Bengal is renowned for its exquisite blend of tea leaves,

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Hailing sustainability with handicrafts

Hailing sustainability with handicrafts

The village of Gharbhanga Jenasahi in Kendrapara district of Odisha recently saw how the joint efforts of the resident families towards community cleaning and livelihood projects could bring about a stable livelihood option to the locals. Villagers have been facing severe water-related problems and with no source of income, young boys are forced to search for livelihood elsewhere. Under Goonj’s ‘Vaapsi’ initiative, the local community decided to restart bamboo handicraft making and have also opted for other livelihood options like tailoring,

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Nobody listened to our problems

Nobody listened to our problems

Even today the word ‘menstruation’ is surrounded by stigma and talked about with hesitation. People of Apithi village in Odisha are no exception. With similar apprehensions, the village women were unable to talk about their menstrual health and hygiene till Team Goonj reached Apithi to conduct an NJPC session. Initially, the women were shy and embarrassed but soon they opened up about their issues. According to them, one of the main problems was the unavailability of bathrooms.

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Now the village stands taller with structures ensuring dignity

Now the village stands taller with structures ensuring dignity

Recent actions by the women of Sankarpurva village in Bundelkhand has not only transformed the village infrastructure but have also addressed many persistent problems of the community. It started with Team Goonj travelling 55 km from Banda (district headquarters) to Sankarpurva to organize an NJPC session with the village community. The meeting primarily aimed to raise awareness and foster education on the subject of menstruation, women health and hygiene.

Through constructive dialogue and drawing from the insights of Team Goonj,

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DFW activity on hygiene & sanitation in Latur district of Maharashtra

DFW activity on hygiene & sanitation in Latur district of Maharashtra

When our team visited Tanda Basti in Latur district of Maharashtra, they were surprised to see the village lanes piled up with dirt. “The roads were covered with all sorts of unhygienic materials and the surrounding gave off a stench,” a team member said. So, after a meeting with the local residents, it was decided to dig soak pits outside the houses to ensure the cleanliness of the surroundings. Motivated by our team,

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We are afraid of hunger more than of COVID

We are afraid of hunger more than of COVID

In Sandhiha village, 30 km from Hazaribagh district headquarters in Jharkhand and situated in a valley guarded by mountains, people from all communities live together in harmony. Majority of the villagers usually migrate to the city for work. However, due to COVID and the following lockdown, they are all back and stuck in their homes without any work.

“It has become very difficult for us to run our house and as of now,

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Unlearning Myths, Learning realities.

Unlearning Myths, Learning realities.

In 2018 Goonj team first reached Kerala in the midst of unprecedented floods, starting a unique journey of relief and rehabilitation work in God’s Own Country. It broke many myths about the people of Kerala, disasters and the acceptance of pre-used material, especially as a development resource. As we complete 2 years of large scale ongoing rehabilitation work in Kerala we share some highlights!
Material received with dignity by the flood-hit
Contrary to popular belief that people of Kerala didn’t need nor would accept pre-used cloth and other material,

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Growing green with care…

Growing green with care…

“During the lockdown, we were sitting idle in our homes as our regular work had stopped…now life has become boring without a job”. These were the words of Shobhana when she and six others were met by our team member to discuss the possibilities of conducting community farming at Edathuruth in Ernakulam district of Kerala.

An island in Ezhikkara region, Edathuruth is an area renowned for fish farming and pokkali (salinity resistant variant of paddy) rice cultivation.

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Devastated but not Defeated

Devastated but not Defeated

For the people of Sunderbans, cyclone Amphan might have wrecked their land but not their resolve. And proving it by example is a group of 20 enthusiastic women from Ramkrishnapur village who actively participated in the making of a mangrove nursery and plantation under ‘Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative. Having planted around 10,000 saplings, the group now looks forward to planting more by the river bank to prevent the erosion of soil.

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Not Just a Piece of Cloth

Not Just a Piece of Cloth

In this pandemic and lockdown as millions of menstruators took recourse to the humble option of cloth…for their dignity in menstruation, we too prioritized this need as a basic in our disaster response and relief material. We also urge the world to look at disasters with a much-needed gender lens, especially prioritizing menstruation as a basic human need. While the onus of taking action is on all of us, it is also incumbent on us to decentralize and co-create the solutions with people at every level of our society…

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Pinapadu village in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh

Pinapadu village in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh

For the residents of Pinapadu village in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh, access to freshwater sources often posed a challenge. When the periodic rainfall and the consequent slippery pathways hindered their walk to the village water bodies (two springs and a well), the locals decided to act on it. This was when 50 individuals, motivated by Goonj, came together to work under Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ (DFW) initiative by laying stones for a 50m stretch on the road leading to the two springs and the well.

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Kurujanga’s women…the green warriors

Kurujanga’s women…the green warriors

A group of local women in Kurujanga, a village in Puri, Odisha, took health matters in their own hands. They teamed up to fight malnutrition and unavailability of local green vegetables, during their menstrual cycle, by making a nutrition garden of their own. Having no land themselves, the group of 25 women and a couple of men had to manage the nutrition garden (20m x 10m) in a nearby land close to the village temple.

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Grow them green…

Grow them green…

With these two new kitchen gardens made in Biridi Block of Jagatsinghapur district in Odisha, Goonj completed its 399th kitchen garden in the state in the last three months, under the ‘Dignity For Work’ (DFW) initiative. The 1,500+ DFW activities completed within this time span across India includes 600+ kitchen gardens, 1,17,000+ sq.m. of pond cleaned/made and 34,000+ sq.m. of canal cleaned among various other activities like road repair, bathroom building or well digging…

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DFW at Naghsari village in Kupwara district, Kashmir

DFW at Naghsari village in Kupwara district, Kashmir

For the residents of Naghsari village in Kupwara district, Kashmir, the protection wall of the bridge, damaged in the flash floods two years ago, was a matter of concern. So, when Goonj visited their village, the locals expressed their interest to take up the repair of the bridge under Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative. Being the only road for three villages, it was used by the villagers to traverse from the main road to the villages and from there to their homes.

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DFW at Katkaripada, Talwada village in Palghar district of Maharashtra

DFW at Katkaripada, Talwada village in Palghar district of Maharashtra

To ensure safe travel for the 50 families of the village during the monsoon, 25 residents from Katkaripada, Talwada village in Palghar district of Maharashtra, came together to work under Goonj’s ‘Dignity for Work’ initiative to build a bamboo bridge across the village creek. Goonj motivated them and rewarded their efforts with Rahat Kits. Though paddy cultivation is at its peak during the monsoon, the torrential creek water poses a threat to the farmers making it difficult for them to venture out into the fields.

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River crossing…no more a saga

River crossing…no more a saga

For the locals of Banka Tola Babhani in Hazaribagh district, Jharkhand, a walk to the village market or the school meant a brave stunt of crossing river Soti. During the monsoons, crossing it would be an act that not even the daring would opt for. Every time, rains raised the water level of the river, the residents had to depend on another longer route – an additional 10 km –

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Into oblivion…and back

Into oblivion…and back

Can a village pond, which was once used for daily activities – bathing, fishing, washing, irrigation – be a matter of oblivion for its community for over a decade? For the people of Pallassena in Palakkad district of Kerala, it has been.

The recurrent sightings of poisonous snakes clubbed with the contamination of water by people bathing cattle in summers forced them to forsake their village pond nearly a decade ago.

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Harvesting hope…

Harvesting hope…

At Pallassena village of Palakkad district, Kerala, community farming project continues to change the lives and fortunes of these ladies. Losing their job at tailoring shops and juggling between working as daily laborers at different sites, when Covid robbed them of all opportunities to earn money, they turned to a barren land. Today, they are harvesting organic vegetables like brinjal, lady’s finger, tomato, cucumber etc that have become favorites of all in the village.

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Conversations start here!

Conversations start here!

For someone who has walked under the scorching sun for miles, words cannot express the happiness of sighting a bench, or the memory of a hearty conversation on it, waiting for a bus. The locals of Palghar Block in Maharashtra too felt a need for a spot where people could just come, sit and talk devoid of any discrimination. Soon that feeling of the community became their driving force to work under Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative towards the setting up of willow benches near bus stops and village bylanes.

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DFW at Foksadanga village in Alipurduar district of West Bengal

DFW at Foksadanga village in Alipurduar district of West Bengal

How we all loved to walk into those classrooms with its bright-hued walls painted with our favourite cartoons. For the kids of Foksadanga village in Alipurduar district of West Bengal, their emotions towards their ICDS centre (Anganwadi) was no different. However, when they were left without a play area due to the dilapidated condition of the centre, 36 residents from their village decided to work towards its beautification under Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative.

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DFW at Chakbasto village in Kupwara district, Kashmir

DFW at Chakbasto village in Kupwara district, Kashmir

According to the locals of Chakbasto village in Kupwara district, Kashmir, the annual snowfall (of about 8 feet) and its subsequent melting often affects the stone structures in the region…one such was the boundary wall of a natural spring. It was in the wake of this situation that team Goonj motivated the locals towards the making of the boundary wall under our ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative. The melting snow not only brought down the wall,

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DFW at Rayagada district, Dalmeridi village in Odisha

DFW at Rayagada district, Dalmeridi village in Odisha

Located 13 km away from the Block headquarters in Rayagada district, Dalmeridi village in Odisha is home to 20 tribal families. For its residents, every year with the coming of rains, the sight of gushing rainwater from the hills making its way into the village pond has become a common sight. However, as the pond was getting buried with sediments, thereby disrupting the irrigation process, it became a matter of concern for the families.

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DFW at Ramsai village in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal

DFW at Ramsai village in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal

Today, one cannot imagine a snake charmer without intertwining it with some intriguing element of mythology. However, for anyone visiting Ramsai village in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal – home to a group of nomadic tribes – the idea of snake charmer will be an element of realism. Geographically, Ramsai is a low-lying region where every time it rains it results in severe waterlogging. So, when Goonj visited the village,

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To ensure safe travel

To ensure safe travel

To ensure safe travel for the 50 families of the village during the monsoon, 25 residents from Katkaripada, Talwada village in Palghar district of Maharashtra, came together to work under Goonj’s ‘Dignity for Work’ initiative to build a bamboo bridge across the village creek. Goonj motivated them and rewarded their efforts with Rahat Kits. Though paddy cultivation is at its peak during the monsoon, the torrential creek water poses a threat to the farmers making it difficult for them to venture out into the fields.

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Cyclone Nisarga-hit Bandarwadi village in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district

Cyclone Nisarga-hit Bandarwadi village in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district

“If there was an emergency in our village, we would have been completely stuck and given today’s circumstances, emergencies can happen anytime,” says Niketan, a resident of cyclone Nisarga-hit Bandarwadi village in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district. It was this disposition of theirs and a little motivation from Goonj that encouraged 17 residents of his village to work under our ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative towards the cleaning of their 500-metre stretch of the main road that was completely covered with cyclone debris.

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DFW from Puri, Odisha

DFW from Puri, Odisha

There was a time when the waters of the village pond of Melaksahi in Puri district, Odisha, never ceased to ripple. However, with the invasive growth of water weeds, once a bustling hub of activity soon became a breeding ground for mosquitoes. As water-borne diseases became rampant in the area, Goonj motivated 52 locals to work towards cleaning the pond, under its ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative. According to the locals,

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Building boundaries, but blurring lines

Building boundaries, but blurring lines

When the walls of the irrigation canal at Karminga village in Ramban district of Jammu were being pulled down time and again by roaming cattle that came to quench their thirst, it often resulted in water runoff. To curb this crisis, locals of the region were motivated and mobilized to come together under Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative to build a boundary wall for the irrigation canal. As it was quite a task to bring sacks of cement up the hills,

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An awareness session on sanitation & hygiene

An awareness session on sanitation & hygiene

Keeping in mind the health concerns of the present day, in nine villages of Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, our team members conducted awareness sessions on sanitation and hygiene to home-bound school kids. Moreover, as the children were wearing adult-size face masks, they were gifted with kids’ masks for better protection. As on June 15, we have made 3,20,000+ face masks.
Storyteller – Rekha Rawat and Vivek Bhatt

We are there…Need you too…To know more about our work &

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A rainwater harvesting pit for the upcoming monsoon

A rainwater harvesting pit for the upcoming monsoon

To tap the rainwater of the upcoming monsoon, 14 villagers of Shahpur in Thane district, Maharashtra – under Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative – worked towards the making of a rainwater harvesting pit to ensure perennial availability of water for their needs.
Storyteller – Dattatray Patil (Goonj Fellow)

To know more about our work & to donate – bit.ly/RahatCOVID19

#DignityForWork #Goonj

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Making the Pond ready for monsoon

Making the Pond ready for monsoon

In Manchia village of Puri district, Odisha, keeping the monsoon in mind, 29 locals came together under Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative, to clean 400 sqm of the village pond to make it suitable for use.
Storyteller – Jagdish Kumar (Team Goonj)
Partner organization- Gram Vikas Sahayak Sanstha
To know more about our work & to donate – bit.ly/RahatCOVID19

#DignityForWork #Goonj

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Livelihood generation…

Livelihood generation…

In Sansargarh village of Rajnandgaon district, motivated by Goonj team member Prahlad Patel, 23 locals planted saplings of elephant foot yam and taro root. Under Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative and with the support of our partner organization Samagra Srishti Sansthan, the plantation happened on the ridge of the newly-constructed village pond. Owing to their high nutritional value, the villagers are looking to make good returns from selling the produce in the market.

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Tamil Nadu: Ensuring food security

Tamil Nadu: Ensuring food security

For the people of Guduvancheri, Tiruvallur district in Tamil Nadu, given the high price of paddy, the availability of freshwater in the paddy field of the region is crucial to ensure their livelihood, as well as the food security of the region. However, when the parched village pond clubbed with the presence of overgrown aquatic weeds in the irrigation canals hindered the flow of freshwater through their paddy fields, encouraged by Goonj,

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Rajasthan: No more walk-for-water

Rajasthan: No more walk-for-water

When it is common for people, including pregnant women, to walk 5 km under the scorching sun just to fetch water for daily use, something must be very wrong with society. But, for the people of Lalpada village in Banswara district of Rajasthan, this has been the reality for years. When the handpumps failed and people were forced to drink dirty water, the villagers approached Goonj’s community worker there, who motivated them to dig an open well.

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Kerala: Unclogging the arteries of Kuttanad

Kerala: Unclogging the arteries of Kuttanad

What roads are to us, canals are to the people of Kuttanad. To tackle the invasive growth of water hyacinth in the backwaters of Edathua panchayat, our team in Kerala motivated the locals towards the cleaning of a 300mx12m stretch of canal. With the water hyacinth removed, adequate water now reaches the paddy fields, apart from being available for domestic use. The clear canal has also enabled people to freely move about in their canoes.

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Jammu & Kashmir: Let’s go back to school:

Jammu & Kashmir: Let’s go back to school:

The residents in Harrog region of Ramban district, Jammu, received Goonj’s support for a makeover… makeover of a school. The parents were sceptical to send their wards to the unkempt premises, where classes are to resume by July. As the annual school maintenance work couldn’t be undertaken this year following the lockdown and the non-availability of labour, when approached by our Jammu team, the villagers expressed their unanimous desire to clean the school and repair the pathway leading to it.

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Maharashtra: A clean drop to drink

Maharashtra: A clean drop to drink

In Palghar district of Maharashtra, water scarcity during intense summers, combined with the receding water levels in the wells, forced the people of the region to consume mucky water. Moreover, with the fear of an impending outbreak of water-borne diseases, Goonj motivated 207 people from the 15 villages of Vikramgad, Dahanu and Palghar blocks to work towards the cleaning of 15 wells of the region. Wells as deep as 30 feet were cleaned merely using local resources.

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West Bengal: Building bridges…

West Bengal: Building bridges…

 

Three years ago, rains washed away the bamboo bridge at Foskadanga village in Alipurduar district of West Bengal. This led to the dwellers of the tribal hamlets in Kalchini block to travel an additional distance of 20 km to reach schools, health centres and local markets. Goonj, in collaboration with its partner organization NEST, motivated and mobilized 40 residents to rebuild the bridge under its ‘Dignity For Work’ (DFW) initiative,

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For the natives of South Mandabari village…

For the natives of South Mandabari village…

For the natives of South Mandabari village in Alipurduar district of West Bengal, the absence of an irrigation system made paddy the only cultivable crop in the region during monsoon. With a resolve to tackle this issue, 75 people from the village, under Goonj’s DFW (Dignity for Work) initiative, worked tirelessly for 10 days towards the digging of a pond (50ftx25ftx12ft). Under DFW, locals are mobilized, motivated and empowered to identify and solve problems at the community level,

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Kerala: Before it rains

Kerala: Before it rains

We took our DFW (Dignity For Work) initiative to the Kadar tribal hamlet, nestled inside Nelliyampathy forest area in Palakkad district of Kerala. Just like any other tribal area, this one too has the problem of malnutrition, poverty, exploitation, lack of transportation facilities and a heightened drinking problem. When our team member went on a visit, the locals had told her they wanted to repair the road before the rainy season,

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Say #IamAMigrantToo

Say #IamAMigrantToo

So..as many here know one thing which has been troubling me and a whole lot of us a lot, is the entire language and thought process, the new words. Social distancing instead of physical distancing to the entire meaning of Migrant Worker. And my #Covidi in making is just on this pain !!

We have all seen millions of people, labelled migrant workers, struggling on the roads,

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Dignity for Work

Dignity for Work

Under Goonj’s DFW (Dignity for Work) initiative, our Karnataka team and our partner organization motivated 53 individuals from Pandathimnahalli village in Kolar to clean a pond which was left unattended for years. Situated en route the village temple, the pond, which was once frequently used for religious rituals, was in a state of complete neglect. Now, having heard from our team the importance of practising hygienic ways in the time of this pandemic,

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5 village women show how villages can find their way back to sustenance…

5 village women show how villages can find their way back to sustenance…

Five women of a small village in Palakkad district of Kerala show us how to stand up in the face of a challenge by the pandemic. One, whose daughter was about to get married… one, whose children have dreams to fulfil, and others, with just the task of survival… When their husbands and sole breadwinners lost jobs and income, these women came together to address the problems they face. A small community farm was the solution they came up with.

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The people…

The people…

The people, many call labourers, recently repaired a 2 km road in Kukru Village of Jharkhand. Left with no work after the lockdown, when we spoke to these 115 families, they chose to receive the relief kits, after working on their own issues, under Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative. Our team mobilised and motivated this small community to identify and work on their own issues. Apart from the road repair they also cleaned their village primary school and water tank.

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Growing Green…

Growing Green…

A massive forestation drive is on in Uttarakhand’s Watan village to create a source of income-generation for the villagers of this hill state. Team Goonj is working closely with the people of this region to plant saplings, herbs, shrubs etc to convert it into a proper forest, using the Miyawaki technique that helps build dense, native forests. The approach ensures 10 times faster plant growth, resulting in 30 times denser plantation.

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Connecting as we grow…

Connecting as we grow…

Working in the East Singhbhum district, Jharkhand, when our team mobilized the villagers of Kalajharna, they decided to work on making a bridge, to lessen their travel distance by about 4-6 km, between Panchadih and Barudih. Situated inside the forest area, the village is home to around 300 people, who do small-scale farming and collection of forest products. Each of the participant families worked very hard to make the bridge,

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Building hopes…

Building hopes…

West Bengal; The Anganwadi (ICDS centre) of Foskadanga village in Alipurduar, West Bengal, has been in a state of neglect for a long time. Adjacent to a forest, cattle often roam into the centre, making it unclean for children to study and play. When Goonj, along with its partner organization, mobilized and encouraged the villagers, they decided to revamp the structure, painting materials, making bamboo fences, repairing the connecting road with stones brought from the Paro River,

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