Goonj is an India based nonprofit transforming the culture of giving in India and using urban surplus as a sustainable development resource for the poor, moving the focus from the conventional – giver’s pride to the unconventional – receiver’s dignity.
Goonj was formed in 1999 with a mission to address the most basic, but ignored need of clothing and the multifaceted role it plays in villages across India. It’s work goes to a core challenge of our times; the growing gap between the urban prosperity & rural poverty. Goonj.. has taken the diverse issues; roads, water, environment, education, health etc. in some of the most backward and remote pockets of India.
Goonj has brought attention to a non-market, non-monetary approach, one grounded in empathy and dignity which has over the years garnered major awards, including Magsaysay award 2015, World Bank’s Development Marketplace award, Ashoka and Schwab fellowship among others.. Bridging the massive gap of social and economic inequities between urban and rural India in an innovative way, Goonj.. has created a model for a parallel economy which is not cash based but trash based.
Today Goonj is a pan India movement working equally widely in cities and villages, dealing with more than 3 million kgs of material annually. It uses surplus material as a currency to motivate people in rural India to address a plethora of development issues like education, sanitation, women’s health, water conservation, infrastructure etc. based on their varied needs. While Goonj matches materials with specific needs of local village communities, actual distribution is tied to local communities working on specific development gap areas that are self-identified by the communities menacing growth of urban waste and used it effectively and efficiently as a tool to trigger large scale development work.