Project #11869

60 Dignified Days for a Woman

May 24, 2013

Not Just a Piece of Cloth

Awareness exhibition during Nirmal Bharat Yatra
Awareness exhibition during Nirmal Bharat Yatra

Not Just A Piece Of Cloth

Women are the most marginalized in the 72% of India’s population living in rural areas. Given the poor economic status of a vast mass, a sanitary napkin for the essential biological process of menses is the last thing on the mind of most. They end up using all kinds of rags leading to widespread unhealthy practices during menses. This forms a strong connect with the prevalence of RTI and other pelvic diseases in India. The shame & silence associated with the issue makes it the most taboo subject even among women, as a vast majority face great hardships & indignity, besides health risks due to this problem.

Goonj is using old cloth lying useless in the cities as a resource to address this important yet taboo basic need of the village & slum women and in doing so focusing on a critical gap in women’s health. The clean cloth napkins are an entry point to generate more awareness on the related health and hygiene issues. In the cities for the first time we are initiating discussion on this issue by directly involving the urban women, drawing on their instinctive empathy. The use of cloth; a material most village women are comfortable and familiar with, coupled with the reuse possibilities makes it a viable option.

Recent media coverage

1. Asian Tribune wrote “Movie with four friends or dignity for four women in ‘those days’ All it takes is US $ 24 or Indian Rupees 1,000 to bring dignity to how a women deals with this monthly basic need. The choice is yours… 

2. A Podcast with Anshu Gupta, Ashoka Fellow and Schwab Fellow, the man behind Goonj’s pioneering work on the ignored and taboo basic need of a woman in rural India. Highlights the thought process and philosophy of Goonj – ‘Creating Paradigms: Where Trash is Currency’ -

3. Session at NASA: Using urban waste streams as a powerful development resource in rural India, Goonj is dedicated to saving lives, empowering people, and ensuring dignity for the underserved poor in rural India. Through its activities, Goonj helps to create a parallel economy that is not ‘cash based’, but ‘trash based’ -  

4. David Bornstein of The New York Times wrote about the journey of Goonj to  create shelter for people in rural areas using the so called urban discard.   “Bridging the Clothing Divide”

Awareness Exhibition
Awareness Exhibition
Goonj understanding menstrual problems of women
Goonj understanding menstrual problems of women
Interacting with community
Interacting with community
Interaction with community
Interaction with community



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Organization Information


Location: New Delhi, Delhi - India
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Priyanka Tiwari
New Delhi, Delhi India

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