Siddhi P. Nagwekar, Karnataka State Law University’s Law School, First Year.
Name of the Organization & Address
GOONJ, 2nd floor, M/s Mukund Synthetic Industries, R.R Industrial Estate, W.E. Highway Road, Kashimira, Mira Road (E), Thane, Mumbai- 401107.
Duration of Internship
1 month (4th January, 2020 to 4th February, 2020)
How did you Apply?
I applied by sending an email along with my CV on mail[at]goonj.org.
They had three-phased selection process.
In the first phase, they processed my application.
In the second phase, depending upon my availability, they called for a personal/ telephonic interview (more of an informal interaction).
In the last phase, they sent me a list of tasks out of which i was supposed to pick one and formulate my strategy addressing points like ‘What will I do?’; ‘How and Where will I do it?’; ‘Expected Outcomes and Possible Timelines’. After this, I receive the confirmation from them within a week or so.
First-day Formalities, Infrastructure, First Impression
This was my first Internship experience, contrary to my expectations, Goonj’s office is located in an industrial area.
Anshu Gupta, popularly known as the Clothing Man, is the founder of Goonj. He was awarded Asia’s Nobel, the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award in 2015 recognizing his work in transforming the culture of giving in India.
Goonj is creating a parallel economy that is not CASH based but TRASH based, where every work doesn’t have to wait for money; instead, huge quantities of old re-usable material are turning into a valuable resource.
I met Ms. Neelima and Ms. Ankita on my first day. After my orientation, we had a brief meeting, where we discussed the strategy I had developed. The first day was all about knowing Goonj and getting acquainted with the way they operate and work.
I was told that my first task was to work at the ground level- ‘the processing centers’ and other tasks would be taken up in 2 days.
Processing Centre: I worked in various processing centers in my first week, where I had to understand and observe how collected material is sorted, repaired, and kept. Whenever I got a chance, I always interacted with the workers, to get an idea of how working at Goonj has affected their life and made a difference.
Not Just a Piece of Cloth (NJPC): It is one of the initiatives I had taken up. It aims at addressing the gaps and challenges of menstrual hygiene and management. I conducted an online survey targeting the urban crowd. We also conducted a ‘Chuppi Todo Baithak’ to normalize menstruation in the slum and rural areas. It also involved the collection of cotton clothes.
Gift by Goonj: Under this initiative, I visited 3 other NGOs, to connect them to Goonj and increase its outreach. Goonj helps these organizations if it can, considering their material requirement.
Collection Camps & Green by Goonj: Collection camps are organized by Goonj where people come and contribute their old but usable things. I participated in two such collection camps before organizing one myself.
‘Green by Goonj’ brand has emerged out of creativity and experience of women who hail from far-flung villages of India.
I also had 2 field visits organized by Goonj: The first was Palghar visit. We visited 2 villages adopted by Goonj and conducted NJPC sessions there. The second one included a visit to the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), Dongri through mutual co-operation from Goonj, and ‘Prayas- a project of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)’.
I have my house in Kalyan, in suburban Thane district, so accommodation wasn’t a problem. If you are not a localite, there are plenty of PGs where you can stay. Goonj Mumbai is located in Mira-Bhayader. Mumbai is a place having high connectivity, you can take bus/train from any part of Mumbai to reach the Office.
Anything else, what you did to chill out, lessons learnt etc. ?
As luck would have it, I got to meet the man himself, Anshu Gupta Sir on the eve of Tata Marathon (Goonj participates in the dream run every year). He’s a very simple, down to earth person. We had an informal interaction, and from that, I highly recommend interning at ‘true to its principles’ NGO like Goonj.
I had another co-intern with me and that was an added advantage as we would plan our tasks and travel to places together.
To sum up, this experience was challenging if anything else, forcing me to go out of my comfort zone while making me feel a mosaic of emotions. However, it was hugely empowering too!
Disclaimer: Internship experiences are opinions shared by individual law students and tend to be personal and subjective in nature. The internship experiences shared on Lawctopus are NOT Lawctopus official views on the internship.