GOONJ – introducing a new currency and solving intimate female health threats

Part 1: Meeting professional life changers in India with Journeys for Change

GOONJ is a social enterprise based outside Delhi in India, using utilized clothing and other material as a tool for social change through the project CLOTH FOR WORK. As lack of clothing is still one of the biggest problems in rural areas leading to suffering, humiliation and often death, GOONJ distributes 1000 tons of material and clothing per year. They collect utilized clothes and material, separate good items from broken items and recycle those into something new.

A business thought of Anshu Gupta, founder of the company, that really impressed me, is to charge people in the currency they have. People in rural areas are able to do tremendous work with their hands and create projects, which improve their lives. Therefore GOONJ does not ask families to pay for the clothes in cash, but through working on a project, which the local community considers as most needed like bamboo bridges, schools or water tanks.

The social need, which struck me most, since I never thought about it within all my years of traveling poor areas around the globe, is the need of clean sanitary pads. I could not believe, that I as a women myself, had never considered this monthly issue. Women end up using all kinds of rags leading to infections and even death. The shame and silence associated with the issue makes it the most taboo subject even among women. GOONJ leads a project called NOT JUST A PIECE OF CLOTH where instead of introducing a new product, they create napkins out of those pieces of clothing that can’t be used and create a special type of “sanitary napkin”. GOONJ has distributed 2 million of the world’s cheapest sanitary pads in the past and continuously educates women in this subject.

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