Before the holidays, I had the opportunity to visit an NGO called Goonj. I was not familiar with it and was accompanying a group of school kids that were making a donation of used clothes. It was such an interesting and a very cool organization. Nestled in a part of Delhi that I had not visited, we made our way back through the narrow walkway that connects the different rooms that make up the organization.
On one side there are people sorting clothes--what can be reused, what needs to be repaired, what can be transformed. Because Goonj lets no piece of cloth go to waste, everything is used. The NGO takes used clothing or cloth and redistributes it to those in need. But, it does so with an interest in the community. As our guide explained, they have a "work for cloth" program which gives clothes to those in need who help our their community. The example she gave was of a village needing a small bridge, the people who work on the project received clothes. This way, as she explained, there is a sense of dignity. Check out the website for more details and information: GOONJ
If you click on this photo, you can see the community work accomplished in "cloth for work":
One of two sorting rooms we visited:
My favorite, the room with the looms:
Absolutely nothing wasted. Here they use old denim and cloth to make a bag. See the strips above and below the rectangular pocket? Made of cloth woven with cassette tape...yes, cassette tape. We had to explain what the was to the school kids!
So, if you're in Delhi and you're going through your closets or getting rid of household linens, don't throw any of it away. Think about Goonj and what they can do with it.