Goonj (meaning echo) is a multi-award winning social enterprise which was founded in 1999 with the objective of building an equitable relationship of strength, sustenance and dignity between cities and villages, by using under-utilised urban material as a tool to trigger development with dignity, across the country.
Goonj turns old material into a resource for hundreds of rural development activities. Its network of communities have built bamboo bridges, dug up wells, developed small irrigation canals, built drainage systems, built village schools, repaired roads and developed water harvesting systems. All these works are achieved whilst making people understand their community power and giving usable old material as a reward. Over the years, Goonj’s work has led to systemic changes in disaster relief and rehabilitation work, while it has also opened up the taboo issue of menstrual hygiene and providing clean cotton cloth as a viable solution.
During the last 3 years, Goonj has mobilised communities to undertake more than 12,000 small and big community development projects around water, local infrastructure, sanitation etc. across rural India, reaching over 2.25 million people with needs-based material.
During the Covid pandemic, Goonj has been creating carefully-designed kits for local communities, including family kits, school kits, labour kits, marriage kits and menstrual hygiene kits. In the six months to October 2020, Goonj has provided over 3.8m kgs of rations and other essentials to communities; over 190,000 kgs of fresh fruit and vegetables; over a million face masks and cloth sanitary pads and has initiated over 3,500 Dignity for Work projects.
3i’s donation will fund aid kits for 840 migrant families, totalling approx. 4200 people, in Madhya Pradesh who have been displaced due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The aid kits contains dry rations, personal care items and household necessities such as utensils and mosquito nets.
HelpAge India is a leading charity working with and for the disadvantaged elderly in India, of which there are an estimated 106 million. HelpAge advocates for their needs such as for Universal Pension, quality healthcare and action against Elder Abuse.
HelpAge provides elderly relief through various interventions such as running one of the largest mobile healthcare programmes through its Mobile Healthcare Units which provide free healthcare services to destitute elders; helping elders earn their livelihood through the formation of Elder-Self-Help Groups; conducting cataract surgeries to restore their sight; looking after their basic needs though its Support-a-Gran programme; running Elder Helplines across the country and providing relief and rehabilitation for elders post disasters and active-ageing opportunities.
Elderly people are one of the most vulnerable groups who have been affected by the Covid pandemic. Through its donation, 3i will fund 2 mobile healthcare units which will visit 10-12 locations in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar each week to provide free medical treatment and essential medicines to chronic patients as well as offer Covid-19 awareness and prevention counselling. Cases needing further intervention will be referred to secondary and tertiary hospitals in the area.
The mobile healthcare units will also be equipped with tele health facilities which will enable consultants to reach medical staff in remote villages. In addition to supporting the elderly, the consultants will advise other people in the community to raise awareness of, and diagnose, common ailments and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, provide counselling and health & nutrition awareness sessions, and arrange home visits for bedridden older patients.
It is anticipated that in excess of 2,500 people will be supported through these units over the coming year.
Starting with 3,000 children in 1999 in Mumbai, Magic Bus has today transformed the lives of over one million children and young people living in poverty, taking them from a childhood full of challenges to a life with meaningful livelihoods. Magic Bus is one of the largest poverty alleviation programmes in India, helping 400,000 children across 22 states and 81 districts in 2020-2021. Magic Bus delivers sessions in c.1,363 schools and 1,961 communities. Since the Livelihood programme began in 2015, they have over 50 livelihood skilling centres and 7 entrepreneurship incubation centres in high-need strategic locations throughout India. Through these livelihood centres, more than 35,000 young men and women have been trained and more than 70% placed in jobs in the organised sector with an average salary of INR 12000. Magic Bus also works in Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar supporting 8,912 children across 40 communities and 31 schools. They have networking and fundraising offices in the US, UK, Singapore and Germany.
Community Learning Centres (‘CLCs’) are an educational platform outside the formal education system usually set up in the community and managed by local people to provide various learning opportunities supporting empowerment, social transformation and improving the quality of life of adolescents. The primary objective of the centres is to reduce school dropout rates, improve foundational literacy and numeracy and, in turn improve overall learning outcomes. The CLCs provide exposure to a variety of activities so as to cater to learner diversity, with a principal emphasis on literacy and basic education, community development, issues pertaining to health and hygiene and income generation. They enhance learning engagement, provide study support and create opportunities for application-based learning. The curriculum focuses on remedial education through e-learning, foundational literacy and numeracy, experiential learning, peer learning and life skill building in children in the community.
“Funding support from 3i has helped Magic Bus establish 6 Community Learning Centres in Delhi which will engage about 720 adolescents in the communities, encouraging them to continue on their learning journey while being provided with study support. This engagement will help adolescents improve their learning outcomes, enabling them to complete their formal education.”