Goonj is a non-profit organisation that aims to build an equitable relationship of strength, sustenance and dignity between the cities and villages using the under-utilised urban material as a tool to trigger development. Meenakshi Gupta, Co-founder of Goonj shared their experiences of social work with BE's Kuntala Sarkar.
Q. How the corporates and government organisations became proactive on CSR funds during the pandemic?
A. During Covid, as we escalated the scale and spread of our work across rural and urban India many corporates old and new came forward to pitch in their support. They not only utilised their CSR budgets but also involved their employees in fundraising initiatives under payroll giving.
Q. Did you witness any increase or decrease in healthcare and education related funds in CSR in last year?
A. Yes, there was a significant decrease in healthcare and education related funds in CSR. Majority of the contributions were for Covid-19, primarily aimed at providing immediate relief support to the migrant and the daily wagers community.
Q. Will this pandemic change the CSR scenario in India - concerning healthcare and education related funds, keeping in mind these are two basic needs of people?
A. The world is slowly becoming more accustomed to Covid-19 as a new reality. Currently, we notice more corporates switching back to their prime focus areas, before pandemic. Education and healthcare were among the key focus areas before Covid-19.
Q. Please tell us the journey of Goonj with a focus on CSR and what changes did you witness during the pandemic?
A. Goonj’s entire work from the cities to the villages is hinged on partnerships. We have a long history of working with corporate partners, especially for disaster relief and rehab. During Covid-19, our urban partner corporates reached out to us to mobilise their surplus stock of food items such as juices, biscuits, fruits etc. apart from monetary contributions.
As the nation witnessed one of the greatest reverse migration phenomena in history, plus huge disasters like Amphan and Nisarag cyclone and monsoon floods as well the need for other household material such as clothes, footwear, toys, hygiene essentials, daris, etc. rose many fold.
Support poured in and most corporate partners have been looking at comprehensive support, including monetary funds, material and focused funds for certain neglected geographies and needs like livelihood etc.
Q. In which parts of India Goonj is operational in?
A. In J&K, Uttarakhand, Delhi NCR, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala we are currently operational in.