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Goonj, recycling clothing and dignity

One of the most basic but overlooked needs in India is clothing.  There are many poor people who have so little to wear that they can’t leave their houses while their clothing is being washed.  This article in the NYTimes explains how Anshu Gupta, a former corporate communications director, started an organization called Goonj, which collects used clothing and distributes it to people in need.  And they do it with the highest regard for the dignity and respect to the recipients, something that many right wing conservatives feel determined to strip away from the needy here.

Having decent clothing is the step before microcredit.  It’s that important.

We are a rich country.  It’s hard to believe that anyone in this country would have so little money that they can’t afford sanitary napkins.  But if there are such cases here in America, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps is not an option.  What they need are boots. What does it say about us as a nation that we do not treat each other with the dignity and respect we all deserve?  Poor people are not parasites.  They’re poor.  Fortunes come and fortunes go.  But everyone needs a nice warm coat, money for personal products, and kindness.

Here is a video describing Goonj and here is the website.  They do take foreign donations to help them defray their operating costs and pay their staff.  The donations of clothes they expect to receive from all of the classes of India who have extra clothes they no longer need.  Nothing is wasted.  You will be surprised to find what you can do with scraps of clothing.  This is the ultimate recycling project.

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