Anshu Gupta

Founder Goonj & Gram Swabhimaan

Popularly known as the Clothing Man and the recipient of 2015 Ramon Magsaysay award, Anshu Gupta founded Goonj with a mission to highlight some basic but ignored needs of people on the development agenda, using clothing as a metaphor. Anshu did double diplomas in Journalism and Advertising and PR, apart from doing a Masters in Economics and started as a freelance journalist. He left a corporate communication job in 1998 and initiated Goonj.

Under his leadership, Goonj has taken the alarming growth of turning urban waste into a tool to trigger large scale work on various rural development issues. An Ashoka and Schwab Fellow for entrepreneurship, Anshu is creatively and flexibly matching and seamlessly weaving urban surplus into the changing priorities and realities of rural marginalized communities. He has built the genesis of a parallel trash-based economy by creating barter between efforts of rural communities and urban surplus material as two new currencies.

Apart from Goonj, Anshu recently started on a new journey of Gram Swabhimaan which was his inner yearning for a long time. He was intrigued with the kind of narration that as a society we have built over the years about certain people and communities. The idea is to make people realize that they are no less and avoid labels like bechara (helpless), besahara (destitute) and gareeb (poor) to describe oneself. Over the years, a popular opinion has been ingrained into their psyche with continuous hammering that they are lesser or the onelacking.

A foodie, an entrepreneur, a thinker, a doer, an avid traveler, photographer and a journalist by heart, Anshu often pens prose and poetry, giving vent to his feelings and opinions on the issues that bother him about the world around him. His latest ventures include Adda with Anshu, through which he aims to take people on a journey with the guests who are from diverse walks of life and have inspired people with their work. The programme aims to celebrate the spirit of Goodness by inspiring masses to explore the various issues and non-issues which have been left unaddressed.