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Bridging economic gaps in India

Ashoka Fellow, New Delhi, India

Anshu has developed a systematic approach to sourcing, collecting, and distributing resources with established nodes and a network of 300 volunteers with 35 collection centers, over 100 partner groups operating in 19 states. On the demand side, Anshu ensures that Goonj precisely matches the needs of poor communities, through detailed market surveys that carefully analyze the different region-specific lifestyle patterns to gather data on their needs. Anshu is turning cloth giving from a ‘charitable act’ into a part of the village development process through his ‘cloth for work’ programme. Wherever his material reaches, beneficiaries take up a development activity for their own village and get clothes as wages. His Changemakers award winning initiative ‘School to School’ is building up relationship between urban and rural schools by using underutilized school material as a resource. By using the most worthless urban surplus he is addressing the most basic but taboo subject of a clean cloth sanitary napkin for the village women.Anshu K. Gupta observed that two Indias exist side-by-side: the increasingly wealthy, urban India and the impoverished, neglected rural India. Anshu realized that the vast stocks of everyday necessities - from clothes to medicines - lying as idle surplus in the homes of the rich can be a substantial economic resource for the country if channeled efficiently to the rural poor. His organization, Goonj, is leading a massive transfer of goods spanning the country.

Anshu is working to meet a widespread need in India for the 35% of its population living below the poverty line. His strategy is a combination of streamlined systems of logistics management, public education, demand-specific sourcing and creative collaboration with other citizen groups. 
His innovation is vital to the Indian economy, where great surpluses can begin to fulfill the desperate needs of millions.

Speech Topics:

  • Civic Participation in India's Economic Development
  • Urban - Rural Waste and Resources
  • Supply Chain Management
This article was originally published on May 13, 2016
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