I was in Delhi to attend the national partner meeting of Goonj, named 'Sanjha'. I don't have the words to explain about that. I always think that Goonj is working on a basic need of human, which is 'cloth'. But after that intervention with Goonj Team, My experience comes with a different thought process.
In our schooling, we learn that human being has three basic needs; Bread, Cloth, and shelter. We all might understand these needs as it is our basic needs. In our life, we run for the fulfilment of our family needs whether it is basic or extraordinary. But in our society we have another society which have shelter, have daily bread but unable to fulfil their third basic need ‘cloth’. We could have seen that people live their life at the roadside when we walk on road. In winters we cannot assure that which winter season or day will be the last for one of them. They survive on bone-fires, blankets distributed by NGO or corporate. This is just one side phase of the society, another phase of society is very difficult to say and too much difficult to find but It’s exist in our society. Another phase of society lives in rural India, where the families are fighting with poverty and suffering from so many problems like; the lack of clothing, dropout in child education, etc. But dignity not allows them to take any materialistic donation. This I could find in these two days of the national partner meeting of Goonj named ‘Sanjha’ and the most important is that how Goonj taking care of such needy, who don’t want to share their pain to anyone and will not accept any relief from any donor agency. Goonj have taken initiatives for such kind of persons named ‘Cloth for Work’. Through ‘Cloth for Work’ Goonj leads the community development work through community participation and cloth has been provided to community as the reward of work did community for the community.
Apart from this I got to know one of the biggest problematic periods for underprivileged women and whole family affected due to that. That is women’s menses period. The question comes from the problem is ‘what they use?’ while they don’t have cloth for proper wearing and in this time, how would she manage? The answers I get were very shocking, two girls using the same piece of cloth since one year with respect of their different cycles. Another story came from Punjab rural area, where a single undergarment used by two sisters in their menses periods.
Women use sand, grass and anything which they found can absorb. This status of the problem was very true with the fact and need an immediate action from the community because it leads physiological problem till uterus displacement. This issue is too much personal for women and related with their dignity and self-respect and unfortunately community think that this issue is related to women only and discourage the awareness for such type of issues. But I think such problems leads psycho-social disfunctioning which we called misbehave and leads disfunctioning in family setting. I have a lot to say but unable to find the proper words to explain, few things in our life we just can experience, cannot explain them and that is one of them to me.
In this present scenario of globalization where government is working for social upliftment of the society. Government claiming that they are taking care of the peoples’ basic needs and when we consider the 5 year planning, we cannot find the cloth into the area of need if it comes, it will be in others.
I am thankful to Mr. Anshu Gupta to provide me the opportunity to experience such a novel cause, issue and the realities with closest view and really thankful to Jagriti Yatra to introduce such a wonderful institution (Goonj). Such an outstanding and the unique example in my knowledge of philanthropy, which lead national development by the facilitation of materialistic resources.
The author Lalit Varshney was a Yatri in Jagriti Yatra 2010.
You can read what Anshu Gupta, the founder of Goonj has to say about Jagriti Yatra here.