the power of re-using

goonj cloth for work campaignDid you know that your spare clothes can help build bridges and clean up water supplies? Well they can in India, when they come together with GOONJ, a local organisation supported by The Intrepid Foundation.

A bamboo bridge built in Assam, a pond cleaned in a remote corner of Orissa and many such development works across the country are some great examples of how the discarded material of cities can be turned into a big resource under GOONJ’s nationwide initiative Cloth for Work. The ‘genesis of a parallel economy’, as management experts are calling it!

Every small article that GOONJ collects – from clothing, footwear or utensils – is given as a reward to low-income workers. With it, they gain self respect. Instead of charity and handouts this method shifts the focus from donor’s pride to receiver’s dignity!

In 21 states with over 250 partner groups, GOONJ is channelling 80 to 100 tonnes of material every month, yet the demand is much more than the supply. This is where you can help. If you can carry some extra (culturally appropriate) clothing in your luggage to donate, or are willing to leave some of your travelling wardrobe behind, then GOONJ can put your spare clothes to great use. Intrepid can collect clothing at our base in New Delhi or let your group leader know and we can make alternative arrangements for GOONJ to receive the clothes.

GOONJ does amazing work on many fronts. Right now they are helping flood relief efforts in parts of Assam, Bihar and West Bengal, far away from the media’s eye. They are also preparing for the upcoming winter, which can be very problematic in these parts of the country, and are stock-piling large amounts of non-perishable foods, woollen clothing, tarpaulins, lanterns, blankets and utensils.

Funds are needed for all of GOONJ’s projects, and your donations will be very happily matched through The Intrepid Foundation.

The Intrepid Foundation – travellers making a difference
Help support GOONJ and other great organisations via the Intrepid Foundation, plus find out how your donation can be matched* by Intrepid Travel!

* Donations will be matched by Intrepid Travel up to AU$5000 (or equivalent) per donor and a total of AU$400,000 each financial year.

Photo: © GOONJ

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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