The whole idea of Goonj is to make use of surplus and underutilized material of cities as a resource for rural parts of the country which is a much larger and a marginalized population in India. Goonj’s School to School initiative opposes the age-old tradition of charity ; of free distribution of material, especially to the kids as they are impressionable and by making them habitual of charity at this age will ingrain the idea that they can get everything free without working for it.
Through School to School, a successful dialogue & empathy between urban and rural children has been established by creating an understanding between haves & have-nots. Goonj’s Recycled School Kits which is an important aspect of the School to School initiative brings necessary educational materials to children from low economic background communities. In a recent activity carried out, school kits were channelized to children belonging to Pardhi Vasti, Dalit vasti communities in Palghar and Osmanabad districts of Maharashtra, living in abject poverty. Daily struggles worsen due to lack of resources and exclusion of these communities to get their basic rights & govt. schemes. The students belonging to these communities can’t afford educational resources necessary for a good education and their regular attendance suffers because of this.
GOONJ has been working in parts of Maharashtra since last many years. Schools in Palghar and Osmanabad districts of Maharashtra with limited classrooms and lack of basic infrastructure and facilities were shortlisted to channelize school kits. Children in these schools did not even have the most basic school resources - school bags or stationary. During distribution, in order to instill good habits and also to create awareness about environment, activities like cleanliness drive, watering the plants and trees etc. were conducted and topics like regularity in attendance, importance of bathing everyday and other hygienic habits were discussed.
Children were excited to receive the set of school bag, seating mat, water bottle cover, vegetable bag, pencil pouch, belt, towel, ball/skipping rope and cap/scarf. They did not feel like attending schools most of the time due to scarcity of these small but important resources. After receiving these ‘gifts’, they are just as excited to learn and play and enjoy in school. Families surviving on meager resources feel less burdened in sending their kids to schools now. Along with school material, GOONJ’s School kit motivated children to continue their schooling in a meaningful way.
Goonj's initiative ‘School to School’ strives to reach basic amenities of learning and education to children in the far flung villages of India. Alongside it also aims to sensitise largely cut-off urban school kids on the realities of their counterparts studying in rural and slum India. Please refer the video link (Goonj - Discard to Dignity) for further details.
Urban school children have been getting increasingly invovled with “School to School” initiative. Over the past 18 months, around 90 urban schools have interacted with Goonj and in some way or another contributed to spreading the idea of “School to School” among their friends, families, schools etc. Many schools have visited the Goonj processing centres and were amazed by the process of recycling different kinds of materials. Awareness stalls & sessions have also been put up in schools and children have played an active role in building up the campaign by spreading the word, distributing leafelets etc. These awareness stalls have helped the children to know about how materials collected in schools have had a far reaching impact in lives of children from rural areas.
Share the Langauge of Love, a co-branded campaign of GOONJ with Johnson & Johnson is all about sharing toys, games etc. of children in urban areas with children in far flung villages of India. More about the campaign in the link attached.
Latest update - Over the years, in our post disaster rehab work we have brought our focus on children dealing with disaster related trauma by bringing in recreation and play into their lives. This we do with material we collect from urban schools. In 2013 whether it was the massive floods in Uttarakhand or the riots hit children in the camps in Muzzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh its things like soft toys, games, books etc contributed by urban schools from all across that helped nurture the lost childhood of the disaster victims. Our work in Uttarakhand is ongoing and here we are connecting deeply with the gaps in the local education system.
‘School to School’ (S2S) initiative provides a unique solution to a problem faced by thousands of remote village schools, which lack infrastructure and basic facilities, critical for a child to have basic experience of schooling. GOONJ’s S2S initiative is addressing the educational needs of thousands of remote & resource starved village/slum schools by channelizing under-utilised material of city’s affluent schools. While connecting the two extreme ends of the society, it opens a space of interaction between the two as well. Without burdening anyone, ‘School to School’ makes channel cost effective and easily replicable concept, evolved on the basis of prevalent practices in urban schools.
The Process & Social Impact: The idea is to motivate urban school kids to contribute the material that they are not using anymore, as every year most children buy a new set of uniforms, copies, stationery, water bottles, shoes, lunch box etc. when they move on to the next class. The urban children, parents & school authorities are getting sensitized to the needs of their less fortunate counterparts; Materials like old books, uniforms, shoes, school bags, etc. are channelized to thousands of village children, motivating them towards learning. It is not given as charity, but as a reward after a regular monitoring on a series of behaviour, attitude and performance aspects.
Through S2S school materials, toys and educational aids reached children studying in government schools, aagandwadis and chehak centres in areas like Rajnandagaon (Chhattisgarh), Lalitpur, Fatehpur, Farukhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Mehrauli (Delhi), Chhindwara, Rewa, Mandala (Madhya Pradesh), Kolkata (West Bengal), Balangir, Nabarangpur, Bargarh, Dhenkanal, Cuttack (Odisha), West Champaran, Saharsa, Patna, Nawada, Banga (Bihar). The children who received the materials belonged to families of remote villages, slums, migrants, tribal communities etc.
Addressing the educational gap areas in Uttarakhand - A Goonj’s ‘School Kit’ (made out of waste material) has a school bag, pencil pouch, bottle bag and a mat to sit apart from stationary, biscuits etc. These have been reached to over 400 kids.
Shoes, Sweaters, Books and other educational materials were also channelized to various Anganwadi & Schools. Goonj has supported and in some places initiated computer centres and children are trying their hand at new technology and exploring new ways of learning through these centres… Goonj also supports remedial centres for improved quality of learning. Most parents in Uttarakhand take education as priority but most government schools are in bad conditions while private schools are trying to fill the gaps.. Goonj is taking care of teacher’s salary in tuition centers at Sangrali, Sanglai, Hurri & Bhangeli…
Through an international shoe manufacturing company we now have access to a big quantity of new shoes which we are systematically reaching out to the most far flung areas. So far, we have reached over 25000 pairs of shoes to children in Fatehpur, Madhuban, Muzzafarnagar, Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh), Guptkashi (Uttarakhand), Delhi, Gurgaon, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and many other places.
Goonj’s “School to School” initiative is about filling the gaps in basic educational material, often a distant dream for many children in remote parts of the country. An integral part of this initiative is ‘GOONJ School kits’ made of waste cloth. It includes a school bag, a water bottle cover, a pencil pouch, a belt, balls, sitting mats and skipping ropes etc. Here are some glimpses from Bichhia & Mawai block of Mandla district in Madhya Pradesh, where 1000 kids of local Baiga and Gonda tribes, studying in 21 different schools of the region have got it. Do refer
if you want to contribute for school kits.
What is it that hampers education ultimately... Is it only teacher-student ratio, infrastructure or policy framework? Even though there are budgets to build infrastructure, pay teacher remuneration, sometimes kids still don’t have the means to get basic educational material, a recurring expense in their lives…
GOONJ’s School to School initiative fills this gap by rewarding children with these important schooling material; stationary, shoes, toys, games, setting up libraries, computer centers; making learning more accessible and fun!!
Aanganwadis spread across the villages of India, are the prime places where the government implements its health and welfare programmes for children but given its bare structure, its hard to get the children stay. GOONJ has converted many Aaanganwadis into colourful spaces; with stuffed toys, games, charts, posters etc. An Aanganwadi worker explains the impact – “Pehley bachcha aata nahi tha, ab bachcha jata nahi” means earlier the kids didn’t come, now they don’t go!!
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