Reigniting the swabhimaan of Indian Villages

A warm hello from the team of Gram Swabhimaan and fellowships at Goonj!!

Starting with an introduction of Goonj-

Goonj ( aims to build an equitable relationship of strength, sustenance, and dignity between the resource-abundant and resource-scarce communities, creating a barter between surplus material and the efforts and wisdom of resource-scarce people as two new currencies, to trigger development with dignity. Founded in 1999 by Magsaysay award winner Mr. Anshu Gupta, works on poverty alleviation, rural development, and disaster relief & rehab, by using the cities’ discards as a fuel for wide-spread development work across villages in India addressing issues around water, sanitation, agriculture, education, local infrastructure, access, etc. Working with a strong network of 600+ grassroots partners, in the last 8 years (2014-2022) itself, we have reached out to more than 12 million people, facilitated 55,000+ development activities, and channelized more than 45 million kgs of material across 31 states & UTs of India.

Through Gram Swabhimaan our aim is to work towards fostering village empowerment and development by catalyzing collective participation, setting positive narratives, building environmental consciousness, and capacitating youth to encourage a solution-based approach for complex issues amongst several other similar goals

This will be achieved via an amalgamation of urban-rural events, volunteer meets, partner meets, fellowships, etc

To give you an overview, the initiative has reached 249 villages in 3 states, namely Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan. Through fellowships, we have engaged with 150+ youth

Kickstarting the association in August, Goonj’s annual event Chaupal- no agenda conversations was held in Delhi (H.O). The event witnessed the attendance of over 300+ urban volunteers, well-wishers, partners discussing the imperative need for a transformative language and lens through which we view certain issues, communities, and objects. These discussions ranged from valuing the capacities, wisdom of the grassroots, to conversations around recurring disasters, environmental consciousness, and the need for ecosystem strengthening

Largely amplifying the aims of Gram Swabhimaan the event successfully engaged the attendees in these thought-provoking discussions

Another good news is the launch of the second edition of the Next-Gen fellowship at Goonj.
The Next Gen Fellowship has been designed to provide exposure opportunities to the children of people who have been associated with Goonj for a long time— including people working in the processing units, office staff, and community mobilizers, amongst others.
The first cohort saw the engagement of 14 fellows of diverse backgrounds with the aim of engaging them in the organization’s work as exposure to better prepare themselves to achieve their dreams.