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A 'clothes bank' that helps millions

August 8, 2008

Text: PTI & Agencies

It is a bank with a difference as it does not deal in money, but in clothes, one of the basic human needs after food and shelter.

"The main objective of Goonj, the 'clothes bank' was to provide clothes to millions of poor and needy people facing great hardship, indignity besides health risk due to lack of proper clothing in far flung areas of the country," said Anshu K Gupta (inset), founder director of the decade old Goonj.

It was an urge to do something different that made Gupta give up his cushy corporate job to help millions of poor in India. He wanted to involve people in projects that would benefit them and make a real difference in their lives.

He quit Escorts as manager, corporate communications in 1998 to work full time on his NGO.

He set up Goonj with support of his wife and a few friends. From collecting clothes from his own house, relatives and friends and distributing them on the roads in Delhi during winters, his dream has indeed come a long way.

Initiated in 1998 with just 67 clothes, the organisation now sends out over 20,000 kgs of material every month in 19 states. A force of over 300 volunteers, Goonj has built up a network of over 100 grassroot organisations, social activists & units of Indian army in rural India.

Image: His mission is clothing for the poor. . . (inset) Anshu K Gupta, founder of Goonj. | Photograph: Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty Images

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