Goonj & Milaap – Two social enterprises I truly believe in and abide by. They both work on totally different concepts but their way of working and transparency in their structure makes you trust them.
I was one of those people who always wanted to do my bit of society, but never took out time to actually do something. While studying I used to teach 10-12 kids of our’s and other maids after school and when I started earning I volunteered to pay for all education related expenses of my maid’s children. But it was limited to that. Despite my various plans to actively do something, join an NGO at least part time – things never actually materialized. I got busy with the usual life’s cycle – College- Job – Career – Marriage and so on. But these two organisations gave me ways to contribute even when I am not there actually, getting involved with them at any level is highly satisfying for me.
I read about Goonj in one of the Rashmi Bansal’s book on Social enterprises. Their simple concept of ‘Vastra Samman’ caught me. I immediately checked their website and read everything I could about the organisation and the founder. They just don’t collect old cloths and other unused items instead they wash and repair cloths if needed, convert other stuff into useful items before distributing it. Their distributions channels are also very logical – they apt cloths to the apt areas considering India’s varied culture (cloths wise) and weather conditions (geography wise). So the needy in South Indian state won’t get a full sweater to cover his body and similarly someone up in the north won’t get a cotton saree to manage the cold. Their work in the field of making sanitary napkins affordable to the poor to prevent various diseases due to unhygienic conditions is something very close to my heart, apart from giving all the discarded cloths/items of the house to Goonj collection centers, I try to make regular payments to this initiative.
Milaap, this one is making a lot of rounds lately, they even ran a contest on Indiblogger and Nisha did a great job in collecting a good amount of money for the cause. Milaap is a platform which connects lenders like us with borrowers who can be anybody in need of a little loan – for education, to get water connection, to start a small business, to expand an already existing business so on and so forth. To do this they partner with organisations who work in the related area. They also have volunteers who collect data from field as well as write borrowers’s profile on their website. Me being one of the writing volunteer :). The loans are returned back in due time and you can track everything online.
If you have some time and are unaware of these enterprises, please go and have a look at the work they do. And get involved, its would be a great experience.