GOONJ

Re-positioning cloth and other underutilized material, beyond charity, adding dignity and turning it into a big resource for development. Spreading the idea beyond geographical boundaries so that world over people take it as a subject to work on. GOONJ works on 3 levels:material, people & idea Material level: GOONJ started with 67 personal clothes, today dealing with more than 1000 tonnes of material to parts of 21 states of India, every year. GOONJ has over the years painstakingly built vast country wide network;sort of pipeline grid from cities to villages through which material moves continuously. While general clothes, woolens and other household material etc goes to the masses t...
Jan 10, 2017

When we openly spoke to women on menses!!

NJPC awareness session on menstrual hygiene
NJPC awareness session on menstrual hygiene

In 2016 Goonj started work on menstrual hygiene in Rajasthan, a state well known around the world for its forts and palaces and the ever colorful Jaipur, part of the golden triangle of tourism in India.  Unfortunately there is a different aspect which brought our attention to working in Rajasthan. It was stories of women using sand stuffed in cloth for their menses (with less cloth and abundance of sand given the Thar desert), many women of a village using the same piece of cloth for their menses in absence of enough cloth and stories of rampant uterus removal etc. which proved to be a motivation to take our decade old work with menstrual hygiene and management to the women in the deep interiors of Rajasthan.

The Goonj team started with the villages of Udaipur and Dungarpur district..In this part of Rajasthan, most villages are on small mountains, where the distance between two houses could be between 100 meters to 1 km, mostly covered by foot. Most women work in the fields and the men go out to nearest block/district for work.. When the team started talking to these women, they found that No pad is available in the village market.  These women face a challenge on different levels; not only do they not have access to pads, even affording a clean piece of cloth is tough while awareness around the menstrual hygiene and basic good practices around dealing with menstrual cloth were also found to be minimal.

The Goonj team conducted awareness sessions with the women apart from reaching out NJPC *Dignity Packs to women and school going girls. These packs are also given to each family as part of Goonj’s Family Pack where even one member works for their village development and get these packs with a lot of information on do’s & don’ts of menstrual hygiene.

Discussion with women

In one of the session at Manas village a group of 40 women dressed in their traditional attire spoke on the problems they face during menstruation.

Sovni Bai said, “There is no one at the primary health centre for checkups, mostly we go to Udaipur district. Usually we suffer from stomach pain, irritation, and white discharge but due to shame/embarrassment, we do not talk to anyone about it.” All women present agreed to this.

Nakki Devi said, “Mostly we use clothes for our menses; procured from our old sarees, blouse, petticoat.. We wash and re- use the clothes. When we do not have clothes, we buy a red cloth at Rs. 20 available at the big market of Udaipur district and the cloth is not even fully cotton. We have used this cloth but irritation and scratching remains.”

The discrimination based on religion, caste and gender is quite high here which makes menses more challenging for women. The challenge for the Goonj team was to gather these women, so far from each other at one place..

Discussion with young girls

In one of the sessions at a school, girls shared on menses.

“During my periods my grandmother does not allow me to go inside the kitchen. She treats me differently on those 4 days. She continuously restricts me to touch things, to sit here and there, to go outside, to talk to people. I feel that my having periods I have done something wrong.”- says Suman

Rakhi said, “I was unaware of my periods, I was in school when I stained my skirt and then my friend told me about it. I was scared and told my mom. She gave a pack of sanitary pad but never spoke to me about the issue. I was just restricted from various things. I get angry, fight with my mom and she scolds me back. I stop talking much during those 4 days.”

Goonj has reached out *Dignity Packs to more than 200 women/ girls in Rajasthan till now.

(*Dignity Pack = 10 Goonj’s cloth pads:MY Pads, an undergarment, and a lot of information on do’s and don’ts around menstrual hygiene)

NJPC awareness session on menstrual hygiene
NJPC awareness session on menstrual hygiene
Pictorial communication of Do
Pictorial communication of Do's & Don'ts on menses
Women being educated to make their own cloth pad
Women being educated to make their own cloth pad
Women receiving the Dignity Kits
Women receiving the Dignity Kits

Links:

Dec 26, 2016

Children in Mandla, M.P. receive school kits!

Children excited to get their school kits
Children excited to get their school kits

Mandla, a tribal district in east-central MP has the unflattering distinction of being one of the most backward districts of the state. Suffering from malnutrition and other issues of extreme poverty, for many year it has also been the focus of multifaceted ongoing work by Goonj.

Together with our local partner organization Prayas Shiksha Samiti Mandla  urban material has helped reform acres of land apart fromturning the tide of migration by making thousands of people in the area realize their own potential in the last few years.  A lot of work has also been done over the years on water related issues like making of bunds and check dams and cleaning of water bodies across the district. Goonj also initiated its sujni initiative here to provide livelihood to people. For the local schools which have little in the name of facilities and basic school resources like school bags or stationery, Goonj worked closely with its local partner organization to do a ground level assessment of children from low economic background. 

A track event and kabaddi tournament was organised between these schools apart from hygiene, discipline & punctuality related awareness sessions and culture programs.

On this occasion School kits consisting of School Bag, Pencil Pouch, Vegetable Bag, Stationery, Towel & Aasan were channelized to 189 children in schools in Khairi, Tikariya, Dumartola & Parsatola villages in Mavai Block in Mandla District. 

Children engaged in activities
Children engaged in activities
Reciting poems..
Reciting poems..
Children with their school kits
Children with their school kits
Children happy to get their school kits
Children happy to get their school kits
Oct 14, 2016

School kits - a pack of joyful childhood..

When we usually talk of ‘Childhood’ the words that are usually associated are  joy, happiness,  naughtiness, homework, school, friends, fun ,games, play, toys, colors…. And so on.  For a large number of children these toys, colors, books, pencils, water bottles… are still distant dreams. Goonj’s School to School initiative is reaching out to the children in far flung remote villages of the country providing material; not as charity but as a motivation for behavioral changes.

An evidence of this is from Kannagi Nagar in Chennai where thousands of people evacuated from different parts of the city due to calamities, metro projects etc. find a refuge. Most are migrant daily wagers. Uma and her husband started a makeshift tuition center in Kannagi Nagar for the local kids to fill up gaps in their education.. Started from the streets with some 15-20 kids, they now have 250 kids enrolled who come twice a day to study. Because of some support from people they now have a shed and are provided with basic food, for children with a high risk of malnourishment.

 We have reached out essential school material to more than 152 kids here including school kits, stationery, geometry boxes, notebooks and oats under Goonj’s ‘School to School’ initiative. When asked to do some activities to get this material as reward, the kids put together and enacted a skit emphasizing the sad sanitation scenario in their locality. It bothered them.. They drew picture showing how it was at present in 2016 and how they wanted it to be in 2018.

Uma is excited, as much for Goonj’s School packs as for the impact the whole exercise has had on the kids. “They come early and leave late and sometimes we had to force them to leave the center. After children received the school kits as rewards in school there are more applications coming to me for enrollment” she shares cheerfully.The parents have also started to drop the children to the center more regularly while the kids have taken up the responsibility of keeping the campus and the surroundings clean.

Similarly, our team reached out in four primary schools in Lalitpur, UttarPradesh (Kapasi, Bijouri, Khiriya Jatara and Kalyanpura Dhanga Basti),providing notebooks/exercise copy books, stationery and some Daris to make the learning experience of these kids a bit better.
The kids participated in a drawing competition to receive this material.

Over the past years thousands of School Kits have been channelized to remote parts of multiples states in India with the continued support received from individuals, corporate, organizations like Global Giving & others. Do spread the word in your network of friends & family as Goonj plans to reach out to 1 lakh children this year.

 

 



 

 
   

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