GOONJ's urgent appeal to provide for winters in the the flood affected districts of Bihar

This is an appeal for a large quantities of woolens and blankets for Rahat Winters, GOONJ's annual campaign

This year we certainly need much larger quantities due to extensive work going on in flood affected areas of Bihar & Orissa. We are thankful to a large number of organizations & individuals who whole-heartedly supported our campaign Rahat Floods.

Right now is probably the lowest point in the last 4 months of Bihar floods. The relief camps are over as most agencies have winded up their work while people have been forced to go back to the villages without any infrastructure or support system. People spend hours in long queues outside government offices without much result even as agricultural land will remain useless for many months to come. The worst part is the arrival of winters; with little resistance left in their bodies, much less to cover themselves and without a proper shelter, the calamity is only becoming worse every day. In the meanwhile Orissa saw one of the worst floods in the last 50 years. Due to inadequate media attention and with more focus on the Bihar floods, this disaster got very little attention from the agencies and the corporate sector.

Do contact Ruchika on ruchikagoonj@gmail.com or Priyanka on riyankagoonj@gmail.com if you want to organize a collection camp for the woolen/blankets etc in your residential/work area. GOONJ has emerged as one of the biggest agencies working in the flood affected areas. Extensive work spread across all 5 worst affected districts of Saharsa, Supaul, Madhepura, Purnia & Khagaria.

  • So far GOONJ has reached more than 150 remote villages in these districts with various kinds of relief material and other interventions.
  • In most of these villages GOONJ was the first organization to reach material with its partner groups.
  • GOONJ is working with over 18 partner groups in Bihar including established voluntary organizations, young organizations, Gandhian groups, youth groups & Panchayat.

Implementation - Biggest Bihar Partnerships: with Ekta Parishad and AID India. - Biggest independent operations of GOONJ; in many villages in Kumarkhand block of district Madhepura and many villages of Saharsa & Supaul. - A 14 member GOONJ team based fulltime in the affected areas is looking after the entire relief and rehabilitation campaign of GOONJ. - Widespread relief operations in large parts of the worst affected blocks of Supaul district (many of these parts remained inaccessible for months after the floods).

GOONJ reached these areas (walking, by boat and motorcycles) working together with many Gandhian organization & volunteers. In its phased relief operations, GOONJ focused on the worst affected villages like Madhubani, Udhampur, Kalagovindpur, Mendipur, Gariya.

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Providing material- - Over 60 trucks (15 tonne/9 tonnes) of material have already reached the people of Bihar & Orissa. - Material includes over 1,50,000 kgs of ration, 6000 tents, 20,000 blankets, 10,000 mats, 10,000 buckets/pans, utensil sets, over 40,000 sarees/peticots, about 1 lakh woolens, milk powder, torches, buckets, 3000 mosquito nets, apart from many trucks of general clothing. - GOONJ emerged as the biggest source for channelising clothes for different agencies working for flood victims. - Need based collection of material was initiated in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Amravati, Bangalore, Jalandhar, Pune & many other cities.

So far 4000 winter kits have been provided to 4000 families. A GOONJ winter kit is designed to take care of a families long term needs. It includes two thick blankets, 2 mats and 10 to 15 woolens (2 woolen per family member) - Sanitary napkin- Sent over 1 lakh napkins so far (made out of waste cotton cloth under our initiative 'Not just a piece of cloth') to Bihar & Orissa. This was one of the most ignored relief material in all the camps.  

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Innovative initiatives

  • Disaster wastage as resource: GOONJ has officially tied up with the Saharsa district administration to look after the vast quantities of clothing received by it during the floods.(estimated at about 30 trucks load)
  • Gudri project; GOONJ is developing centers in Bihar to convert old waste cloth into Gudri. Apart from protecting people from extreme cold it will generate large-scale employment in the region. Each person will be given raw material for three Guddri blankets; they will keep 2 Gudri and give back one to GOONJ. At many centers people will be trained and paid for making these Gudris. - 3 similar Guddri making centers are being initiated.in flood affected areas of Madhepura & Supaul. - NEEV, a Jamshedpur based organization, has sent 300 Gudris to Bihar.Various centers of XLRI-GOONJ Cloth Bank at Jamshedpur will be supplying raw material to NEEV, to scale it up to 5000 Gudris.

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Mobile Medical boat; On 7th September, GOONJ introduced a heath camp 15 km away from land, in village Sukhasan. A mobile medical boat was also initiated to meet the immediate needs of people trapped in water. This new experiment supported over 2000 patients. So far, it has prevented 10 deaths by reaching in time for things like snakebite and diarrhea cases. It has also proven to be of immense use in relief supplies and evacuation. CHEHAK- Apart from supporting the education initiatives by our partner groups, GOONJ has initiated its own centers called Chehak to provide a joyful atmosphere to kids. Implementation; Two such Chehak centers with approximately 400 kids are already operational with participatory approach of involving villagers and village level committee to run these centers.

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VAAPSI - aims to bring back livelihood.. GOONJ has identified various village level skilled/unskilled professions; right from setting up a barbershop, Dhaba, Manihari etc to generate employment on a large scale for which Livelihood Kits are being developed to start work. - These livelihood kits will act like an asset for people in future. Many who used to work as bonded labor can immediately start something of their own with thses kits. - In this new venture, Adobe has granted us financial support of Rs. 48 lakhs.

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Financial contributions to GOONJ so far: - Over two crores apart from large scale purchase (as per GOONJ's requirements) by many organizations and groups including Mumbai Group of Friends, Shri Neminath Jain foundation, TCS, RBS, Orange, E&Y etc. - We have spent about 80 lakhs so far primarily in transportation and relief supplies. Some of the biggest monetary contributions have been from: Colgate Palmolive- 31.60 lakh, Sonata Software Ltd- 16.60 lakh, Shell India- 10.00 lakh, Axis Bank- 11.00 lakh & Arpan Foundation- 12.00 lakh - Countless organizations and individuals have made a commendable contribution to GOONJ's Floods campaign. Many have gone out of their way by making a lot of physical effort in buying material as per our lists. Some of the case studies, important figures, photographs etc. will be up on http://www.goonj.info in the first week of January. - Saraswat co-operative Bank Ltd contributed Rs. 7.00 lakh for a vehicle for Goonj's field work in Bihar. - Some commendable contributions * Well known artist Subodh Gupta & Bharti Kher organized an online auction of their & other well known artist's work and raised about 1.6 crore for GOONJ's flood relief work. - Mumbai Group of Friends, an informal group of friends, raised over 70 lakh rupees worth of new material and cash contribution for GOONJ. - Nemi Narayan Trust of Mumbai contributed many trucks of material. A team of 40 people traveled to the flood affected areas with the GOONJ team members. - Dr. Avinash Shaoji of Prayas came up as a big friend of GOONJ during this campaign. In many smaller cities of Maharashtra he mobilized people in a big way. Over 7 truck load of relief material was sent to Bihar & Orissa from this part of the country. - The Doctors & Chemist Association from Pandharkawada (a small town in Yavatmal district, of around 30,000 population) took the lead in collecting relief material following Dr. Shaoji's appeal.

The local Schools, colleges & the local public was involved in an awareness rally resulting in collection of nearly two truckloads of cloths. After closing their dispensaries & shops, the doctors & Chemists used to work beyond midnight, sorting & packing the collected material. A large number of volunteers spent long hours in sorting material as per GOONJ guidelines. - 1298, TNT IOC got together to organize a drive in Mumbai and sent huge quantities of material to Saharsa. - Mehekar, a small town in Buldana district, organised a rally and collected a truckload of material.

Well known dancer Mallika Sarabhai's organization Darpana became a successful collection center in Ahmedabad during the campaign. 'Dream a dream ' at Bangalore & Aham Bhoomika at Bhopal were also some of the few very successful collection points for GOONJ.. - Carrefour Foundation made a timely contribution of about 40,000 meter of new cloth for making cloth sanitary napkins with which we are able to generate over 1.5 lakh napkins. In Orissa GOONJ tied up with two well-respected organizations - Biswa & Adhikar. Even though Orissa was also affected by one of the worst floods, it hardly got any attention from the media and the rest of the country.. As a result very few agencies reached there.

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Unfortunately by declaring/describing these as normal, annual floods, very little is being done.

GOONJ has reached over 20 trucks load of material so far. We are committed to a long-term operation/involvement especially in view of the impact of ongoing winters.

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