Cloth for work: Turning age old charitable act into dignified giving

Whether we like it or not, clothes are the symbol of our dignity. Cloth for Work is a special Indian initiative that is not only tackling one of the most important basic needs of village communities – clothing – but dignifying the act of giving.

Cloth for work is a project initiated by GOONJ. During the GDN’s 13th Annual Conference, GOONJI Founder Anshu Gupta presented his project. After the session we caught up with up and recorded the short interview below.

From raising local communities’ awareness about their basic needs – on the top of which clothing – to empowering them in order to address their own local issues, the process seems to be long but rewarding. Whether it is an issue of cleaning a dirty surrounding, tackling an old water problem, increasing land cultivation and productivity, or repairing a damaged road, the project’s initiators help the communities decide on the problem, identify the possible solution and act accordingly. Clothes are then given as a reward. With Cloth for Work initiative, giving clothes is no longer a charity act, but rather a resource for development.

One of the most interesting aspects of this initiative remains the possibility of using old material as a powerful tool to satisfy basic needs. Using old cotton material to produce sanitary pads is one powerful example.

Although prominent, several projects across the Global South whose main target are women overlook the issue of sanitary pads. In a conservative country like India, sanitary pads are considered to be a woman issue, hence a taboo. Cloth for Work used sanitary pads as a tool to open up a dialogue and raise awareness about pads being a human basic need which has been ignored regardless of its vitality. Old materials are converted into sanitary pads by women of village communities themselves. 2 million sanitary pads were created over the past 2 years. Not only such sanitary pads are handmade, easy to produce and cost effective, but also are 100% biodegradable. No other sanitary pad across the globe is that environment friendly!

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3 Responses to Cloth for work: Turning age old charitable act into dignified giving

  1. Great work. Really appreciable. More and more people should be encouraged to be a part of such work and donate whatever possible to them and contribute to a better society.

    • Zeinab Sabet says:

      Totally agree….hearing from Anshu about Cloth for work was just breathtaking. I hope to see more people doing this kind of work….towards a better society.

  2. Dr George E Thomas says:

    Fantastic thought, Mr Anshu Gupta.
    Truly a great service to rural India.
    – Dr George E Thomas

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