The Founder of Goonj and Gram Swabhimaan, Anshu is popularly known as the Clothing Man. He is the recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, popularly called the Nobel Prize of Asia. He quit a corporate career in 1999 to initiate Goonj, the world’s first agency working on clothing as a development issue. It disturbed Anshu that despite being a basic human need, cloth was nowhere in the development agenda. This attention to a neglected basic need set him on 24+ years of transforming India’s culture of giving of our unused cloth and other under-utilised material for development work.
Under Anshu’s leadership, Goonj has taken the alarming growth of urban surplus and instrumentalised it to trigger large-scale rural communities-led development work. While creatively and flexibly matching and seamlessly weaving urban surplus into the changing priorities and realities of rural marginalised communities. Anshu has pioneered the genesis of a parallel surplus-based economy of barter between efforts of rural communities and underutilised material as the two new currencies.
The Goonj model has emerged as a worldwide case study around deploying surplus material circularity to mobilise large scale civic-engagement-led material poverty alleviation, community dignity and agency-led rural development and rural wisdom-led climate change mitigation work.