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, Team Goonj introduced ‘Cloth for Work’ (now called Dignity For Work), encouraging communities to identify their own issues and evolve solutions through collective action. We mobilized and motivated people to clean their canals, backwaters, ponds, drainage channels, check dams, water harvesting, pit making, road building and many other projects. As a reward for their efforts, they received comprehensive material kits for the entire family’s needs, making them realize their own collective power and their potential in solving their everyday issues.
Working with schools to soothe their scars and rebuild their infrastructure
Our teams worked with many flood affected schools to support the repair of their infrastructure like roofing, painting, flooring, along with material support like lab equipment, sports materials etc. Our teams motivated and engaged school children in plantation drives, vegetable garden making, butterfly garden, bookbinding, colouring etc projects, rewarding their efforts with School Material Kits, under our ‘School to School’ (S2S) initiative.
Stabilizing lives with Sustained Livelihood: As the flood waters in Kerala swept away livelihoods of many, Goonj worked extensively to revive occupations; starting stitching units, supporting women set up snacks units, catering units and roadside meal units. With a strong principle of ‘Let’s improve before we change’ Goonj focused on reviving traditional occupations like coir rope making and supporting folk art groups to ensure their financial independence.
Reminding the ignored about Dignity: Goonj went the extra mile to revive the lives of the flood-hit communities, especially the most neglected; in most remote areas… artisans, folk art groups, differently-abled and groups engaged in traditional occupations like pottery making and coir making.
Engaging the urban masses in Dignified Giving: Goonj Kerala team and enthusiastic local volunteers hosted collection camps and book exhibitions in different parts of the state to generate materials for our ongoing rural work, to make the entire operation more self-sustained.
After Kerala floods of 2018, Goonj started it’s disaster relief and rehabilitation and continues to work on livelihood, Water, Education, Sanitation, Environment & Menstrual Hygiene and awareness.