Sometimes simple ideas work more effectively than complex solutions.. This story located approximately 6000ft above sea level is a perfect example.. Darma is the trans-Himalayan valley of Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand. The Tribal community of Darma ‘Rung’ also known as Darmiyani, the residents of this valley are facing the challenge of plastic and non- biodegradable waste destroying the sensitive ecology of the mountains. Last year in June, Goonj’s local team mobilized and motivated the tribals of Darma to join our ‘Clean The Himalaya‘ Campaign to make the valley plastic-free. The biggest challenge was the difficult terrain of the area. Initial meetings lead to a simple plan of action- Each family would collect one gunny bag worth of plastic including all kinds of nonbiodegradable waste they could find in their grasslands, meadows, agricultural fields, water resources and other places.
For fifteen days, families of more than 15 Darma villages took up the rigorous task of collecting plastic waste, and transporting the heavy bags across over 80 kms to be recycled at the District Recycling Plant, Pithoragarh. All families were awarded comprehensive Goonj Family Kits and TOMS shoes. In the first phase, over 800 families actively participated in this campaign. For continuous year-long efforts and processes, a committee was formed as well in every village. The campaign will enter its 2nd phase this year.
Goonj and TOMS (TOMS.com/improving-lives), a California based market leader in shoes have come together in a joint giving effort. TOMS started its partnership with Goonj in 2013, pledging to give a new pair of shoes to a child in need on its every purchase. This partnership has strengthened our work and also further strengthened our philosophy that filling small gaps does make a big difference..
This winter, join Goonj’s Odha Do Zindagi Campaign and contribute your woolens, blankets, and sarees for those who are most vulnerable. www.goonj.org/odz