Goonj Founder Anshu Gupta Expresses Concern Over Poverty at Shoolini University

Shoolini University
  • Magsaysay award winner exhorts youth to contribute to nation building
  • ‘More people die due to lack of clothing than natural disasters’: Goonj Founder

Magsaysay award winner and well-known social entrepreneur Anshu Gupta, who is the founder of the NGO Goonj, has urged youth to contribute to the nation building and to question the government on utilisation of public resources. Magsaysay award is internationally-recognized as the Nobel Prize counterpart of Asia and is the highest award given to Asian individuals and organizations.Speaking to students and faculty of Shoolini University here today, Gupta said more people die due to lack of proper clothing than those who die due to natural calamities. Known as the ‘clothing man’ of India, Gupta said poverty itself is a disaster.

Stating that he was against the use of words like ‘charity’, Gupta said his organisation aims to using urban discard as a tool to alleviate poverty and enhance the dignity of the poor in the world. “Address the basic but neglected issues of the poor by involving them in evolving their own solutions with dignity and urban material as reward,” he said.

Gupta, who was conferred Magsaysay Award for his work on transforming the culture of giving in India and for highlighting material as a sustainable development resource for the poor, said he hates the words like ‘charity’ and ‘donations’ and said the dignity of the receiver was of paramount importance. He said donors should shun the idea that they were doing any favour or indulging in charity. 

He said that the focus of Goonj was concentrated on the receiver’s dignity instead of the donor’s pride and added that the organisation promoted circular economy by ensuring maximum use of each material.

“We value collaborative efforts with partner organizations to increase effectiveness and scale,” he added. Goonj, he said, works on turning old material as a resource for hundreds of rural development activities. “Cold does not kill people. If it did, nobody would have survived. It is the lack of proper clothing that kills, which is highly preventable but yet nobody speaks about it. Millions of people suffer every year and yet it does not make headlines,” he pointed out.

He further went on to explaining how other invisible issues, such as women sanitation, go unnoticed and how at Goonj they started making things such as sanitation napkins to inner wears to bags out of things that were collected by them and were then used as rewards for the people who would help resolve social issues of water roads etc in any village. Goonj would make family kits and would distribute it to the people who help rebuild lives.

He closed the interactive session by making students realise that even if a thousand people start working towards proper clothing, sanitation and food, it will still take about 10 years to bring any change and that we, as the privileged section of the society, should start doing our bit. 

Earlier he was received at the campus by Vice Chancellor Prof P.K Khosla and other senior faculty members of the University. He also flagged off a mini truck carrying clothing and other items collected by students and staff members of the University.

About Shoolini University:- Set up in 2009, Shoolini University of Biotechnology and Management Sciences is a research-driven private university with full-recognition from the UGC. A leading university of India, it is recognised for its focus on innovation, quality placements, and world-class faculty. Nestled in the lower Himalayas, the university has received accreditation from NAAC and it is ranked by the NIRF.