Mussoorie, Uttarakhand: When it comes to giving, the people of Uttarakhand-situated-hill-station Mussoorie, donate with open arms.
On the insistence of the locals, Goonj, a social enterprise which uses urban discards to fuel development work across villages, is coming up with four drop collection centres in the hill station.
The ideas is that the donations in kind – such as stationery, study material, dry ration, clothes, footwear, blankets, beddings etc – can be dropped in the boxes at any time of the day and the collected materials will then be distributed among people across 700 villages of Uttarakhand.
The personal donation boxes mushroomed in the hill station during the 1991 Uttarkashi earthquake and the more recent 2013 Kedarnath deluge. Large donations were made, both in sum and kind.
After this, the donation boxes were taken away and no such initiatives were powered in the last four years.
Anshu Gupta, the founder of Goonj, who has a childhood connect with Mussoorie, said that the people have been more than willing to give, but did not know how, “so we decided to start drop-centres here.”
The drop outlets will be located in Landour cantonement, two on the mall road and fourth one at Hathipaon, covering the entire length and breadth of the hill-town.
“Our message to the people of Mussoorie is simple. Give anything usable, wearable that is lying unused in your home but can fulfill someone’s basic needs,” said Mr Gupta, who is a Magsaysay Award winner, adding, “we are always running short of woolen clothes since winters are tough in the far-flung villages. Dry Ration, school material and monetary support is much needed to sustain.”
Mohit Mittal of Café Ivy in Landour, which is one of the four collection centres, said, “It’s an honour to be associated with an NGO like Goonj. The fact that a collection box at our café can help to reach out to the rural population in far-flung places is a heart-warming thought.”
After the 2013 Kedarnath deluge, Goonj has spread its wings across 700 villages in Uttarakhand with offices in Rishikesh, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag and Pithoragarh and with their latest initiative, they hope to touch more lives and make a difference where it matters the most.