Ram Kuvar Bai decides to bring water to her dry village
Ram Kuvar Bai is a daily wage laborer who took the first step to bring water to a dry village in Madhya Pradesh.
Salidhana has extremely less rainfall and getting enough water for daily needs was a struggle. It was declared a dry village by government engineers after failed attempts of digging for water.
The village only had one hand pump which was on a hilly slope. There was no proper path to the pump and so the women often injured themselves while fetching water.
Goonj asked the villagers to think of a solution for their water problem through their 'Cloth for work' program. 'Cloth for work' is a Goonj program where they motivate the community to solve their issues and in return they get clothes as payment
The village women got together and built steps which made it easier for them to go up and down the slope. By building these steps the women understood that if they worked together, they could solve their community issues.
Encouraged by this success, the villagers now wanted to dig a well to solve their water crisis.
Ram Kuvar Bai offered her land free of cost and enrolled as the first person to work on the well. A local knowledgeable village elder was called to identify the spot for digging. He used Padiyar, the traditional method of rolling a coconut to identify a spot for digging.
On the first day only seven people turned up but as days progressed more and more people started to come to work on the well. Their hard work bore success and after days of digging, they struck water.
This was a moment of great celebration. Salidhana's well set an example and inspired other neighboring villages to dig their own communal wells.
A few months after the well was dug, the villagers of Salidhana worked with the local authorities and got their kaccha (temporary) well made pukka (permanent) under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).
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What the beneficiary gets
Cloth for Work' is an award-winning initiative. It creates a barter between donated clothes from cities and labor and resources of rural communities. In the last year, Goonj has initiated over 3500 'Cloth for Work' activities in over 1700 villages without any monetary transactions.
The villagers work on infrastructure building, water, agriculture, and sanitation-related works as part of this program.
All the material collected from urban India comes to Goonj Processing centers across major cities of India for processing. The material is carefully sorted according to different criteria like age, gender, size, usability etc.
Care is taken to make sure that all material is in usable condition. They are assembled into family kits. These contain essentials for a family's needs like clothes, shoes, utensils, blankets, woolens etc. The kits are sent to different parts of the country for distribution among the communities. This is enabled by Goonj teams and partner organizations.
The program covers the cost of the processing centers and transportation of kits to the villages where there is a need.
Give now to help communities work together to bring sustainable solutions for their problems.
28 November, 2021
Activities and work undertaken in the last 5-6 months
As the pandemic raged on, one major problem that was being overlooked in the medical-need crisis was hunger. As covid was spreading like wildfire to the rural pockets of India, availability of vegetables and ration, the need for isolation centres, means of livelihood generation during the lockdown and urgent medical care were becoming issues that needed immediate redressal. To address the ever-growing needs, we have scaled up our services through our functioning processing centres. Curation of individual Food kits, reaching the remotest parts across the country, medical interventions, focusing the last-mile health workers and individuals, channelizing medical aids, making face masks on large scale, converting unused buildings into Not alone centres and supporting Khichri dhabas with rations to ensure food security was the action taken. In these troubled times, Goonj extensively worked with some missed-out communities who were already on the very edge of living, even before covid such as the sex workers, trans-genders, differently able, HIV+ people, leprosy-afflicted and others. With the support of the extensive network of partner organizations (400+) pan India, Goonj has channelized more than 4.2+ million tons of rations and other essentials reached out to 100,000+ families and provided 85,000+ ready meals till June 2021. Goonj has been working in parts of 27 States & Union Territories across India, namely, Bihar, Assam, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Telangana, etc.
Challenges faced and next steps
In the initial period of a disaster, the primary focus is on ensuring that people get access to basic consumables and survive life-threatening situations. In the situation of the pandemic, Goonj had to face many difficulties on the ground due to intermittent lockdown which was affecting the relief work and amidst all the risk, the team had to make sure that permission and precautions were in place before reaching out to people in desperate need of help. Further, other recurring disasters made the situation even worst, increasing the need for manifolds eventually resulting in immense pressure on the teams in the field. However, these challenges couldn't hamper the work and Goonj was able to reach the last mile and served communities battling losses due to COVID 19 as well as natural disasters. We could reach out to people who have lost everything in the past few months& their survival was at stake.Goonj’s experience of the last 20 years of working in disasters has highlighted the fact that relief & rehabilitation go hand in hand. In the next 6 months, in addition to continuous relief work, Goonj is now gradually transitioning to adopt the approach of community mobilization. It’s a time-tested strength of Goonj, advances dignity and prosperity for rural India on solutions designed not for but with village communities. Goonj’s flagship initiative Dignity For Work in thousands of villages each year hinges on such large-scale community mobilization that puts decision making into the hands of the communities. With the permission extended to some more sectors and activities, the communities are encouraged to work on their local issues on water, community hygiene, sanitation, plantations and kitchen gardens, etc. The efforts & hard work of the communities are rewarded by dignified handing over the kits.
Stories from the ground
As a community, a couple of months back we thought we were near over the dreadful moments of a nightmare. The long unaware distances for survival are bygones… but that was a mere illusion. People across communities have again been left helpless and hungry.For the villagers of Mandangad taluka in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, the story is no different. The locals have lost their jobs and have limited or no ways to arrange their daily meals. In Boudhwabi, a family lost their only source of income as ironsmiths. Managing to somehow cross the district border, the family took shelter by the side of the highway with just available tarpaulin and scrap. With the situation all around worsening every minute, our field team responded to their immediate need by reaching ration kits to them. Till now, in Ratnagiri, our team has managed to reach families in Chichali Adivasiwadi, Panhali Adivasiwadi, Buri, Nargoli, Boudhwadi.
23 March, 2021
Cleanliness is next to Godliness
The temple of Chowdeshwari in Srinivaspur village of Kolar district in Karnataka is a century-old structure wrapped in history and beauty. Located close to it is the temple pond from where the locals had been drawing their drinking water since time immemorial. Added to that, the pond was also used by the devotees for their ritual cleansing and other related activities. However, with the passage of time, neglect and as a result of being left unused, the pond got engulfed in weed, discard and dirt. Though the locals felt the need to clean the pond, the fear of the pandemic kept them away from the community work. However, when Goonj along with its partner organization, made them aware of the need to ensure the cleanliness of the public water bodies - more so now - 78 participants came forward immediately and worked under Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative to revive the pond. Though the lock down had made life difficult for them, but now, with the essential materials in the Goonj kits - rewarded to them for their efforts - and also the clean temple pond and its surroundings have brought a ray of hope and happiness in their lives
5 August, 2020
Replacing charity with dignity
Replacing charity with dignity
For the people of Manjakuppam, Villupuram District in Tamil Nadu pond is their main source of water. While it was used for irrigation, bathing, cleaning etc. over time, it got dirty with debris and weeds. In just a few days, over 90 people successfully cleared all unwanted plants and debris from this 80-meter long pond. Now ready to accumulate and store fresh rainwater this pond will now better serve the needs of the people here. All participants were awarded for the efforts, with carefully made Goonj Family Kits.
Over 85 families of Baratiliya village, Banswara, Rajasthan built a brand new road, all on their own! This village road leads to the shrine of a local deity but walking this stone-filled and bushes and shrubs covered path, was a tough task. With Goonj’s motivation, people here came together to fix this 300-meter long road. Everyone who took part in this work received carefully made Goonj Family Kits, as a reward for their efforts
The tribals of Saura of Kantagaon village in Gajapati District of Odisha have seen their land turn into a wasteland due to recurring landslides due to cyclones and floods. Over the years as little work was left, these disasters also led people to migrate for survival, leading to further neglect of the land. Our teams working in Odisha mobilised and motivated the tribals to find a way to revive their land. People here decided to start by converting a small patch of land in the local school into a community kitchen garden! In just 4 days, more than 15 residents titled the land, sowed various vegetable seeds and even created a wooden fence, all on their own! This new kitchen garden will now be a source of fresh vegetables for the community as well as the students. The efforts of all participants were rewarded by carefully made Goonj Family Kits.
19 November, 2019
Care and support being provided
Care and support being provided
9 April, 2019
Cloth for Work' is an award-winning initiative which creates a barter between urban and rural communities. Itinvolves use of local skills, enterprises, labor, raw materials and indigenous knowledge of the local community to undertake big projects like making bridges, making/repairing roads and similar voluminous development activities
Goonj opens up a dialogue on problem afflicting the villagers, encourages local community participation and ownership in resolving issues their own issues.
Instead of moving ahead with a set agenda and framework for implementation, efforts are customized according to the needs of the local communities and their priorities hence fostering bottom up approach for inclusive development in the region.. .
Communities are rewarded with Goonj’s comprehensive “Family kits” comprising basic essentials like clothes, shoes, utensils, blankets, woolens, utility items for their efforts.
As such, Goonj’s circular repositioning of urban wastes as powerful resource is not just an economic model, an approach but a transformative movement ensuring societal changes at the grassroot level with higher cross-sectiol civic engagement and a more equitable disposition of resources between urban and rural strata. With total of 4280 effective “Cloth For Work” activities this year, Goonj aspires to grow more as an idea, a movement and an instrument of change.
Story from the field
It is no secret that India’s water crisis has escalated to alarming levels… With traditiol sources of water like wells, ponds and rivers fast dwindling, the rural communities are worst affected.
Here is a story from (Alkal village, Raichur, Kartaka). Regular water crisis drove 160+ parched villagers to dig a farm pond in their area to accumulate rain water for farming.
Encouraged by Goonj, people dug 60ft*40ft pond with a depth of 5ft in just two days!! Improved groundwater level means better agricultural productivity.
The locals were rewarded with Goonj’s comprehensive “Family Kits” for their hard work.
Here is another story from the villages of Palghar dist. in Maharashtra. When a community in a village meeting decided to take up the task of cleaning their wells and the area surrounding it, over 100 villagers participated in a span of 13 days to clean 6 wells just before monsoon.
One such case was of the well in urgent need of repairs with holes leading to slush all around creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes. When Goonj team encouraged the people to take action, they not only rebuilt the well boundary and platform but also made separate washing area in just 2 days.
Women of Devgharpada had a long sigh of relief once the cleaning and repair work was undertaken. As a part of collective hard work of 17 villagers for 5 days, there was tremendous change in hygiene maintence of the local water resources.
“This well is a source of water for 250+ people. The filth around it made it difficult to reach it. Now women of our families don’t have to worry while carrying water.” exclaimed Nilesh, from the village.