October 01, 2009

Goonj - Old Clothes have Diginity

Over the past two weeks, I came across 'Goonj' through various links. [Unfortunately, I think, their website was under virus attack, but now seems to have recovered]
Goonj is an NGO which channels our old clothes to the poorest of the poor in remote villages across India. Its easy to type this sentence, but the logistics behind this effort is mind blowing. GoodNewsIndia has a very insightful writeup on Anshu, Meenakshi and Goonj
Till three years ago, the collection used to arrive in Gupta's small house, where volunteers and paid staff processed the clothes. [Goonj has a separate office and work place now]. Intimate wear is rejected. Torn clothes are set aside for conversion into usable products. Good but dirty clothes are removed for washing. Then, requisitions from organisations are taken up. These contain requirement by gender, age and size. These are selected and packed in used sacks. Sacks are numbered and the numbers recorded in a database. And finally they are on their way to close to 200 destinations around the country. No cloth is ever wasted. They are converted to school bags, tote bags, quilts, and mats. A great quantity is converted into narrow tapes to be used as drawstrings for petticoats. The ultimate, unusable waste is chopped up and stuffed into pillows and quilts. Perhaps, the most poignant of all products that Goonj makes are sanitary napkins of its own design.
Now, you know whom to call for giving away your old clothes. There might be pride in giving, but we should not forget that there is dignity in receiving too.

1 comment:

Krishnan said...

Thanks for letting me know about Goonj.