‘The Cover Project’ Started When A Small Girl Begged For His Umbrella, Today They Have Distributed 5000 Umbrellas To Homeless Children

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As much as it is cherished for its magical charm, monsoon in Mumbai is also quite notorious for the endless inconveniences it causes – ranging from flooded streets to an inevitable onset of infectious ailments. 

The situation is undoubtedly worse for the street-dwellers and slum residents, whose makeshift shanties and paltry belongings are often washed away in the torrential overpours. Their children, clad in drenched and tattered clothes, shiver while muttering prayers to make the rains stop. 

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

A Girl Begged Him For His Umbrella

27-year-old Vimal Cherangattu had a similar encounter. Two years ago, he was stuck in traffic during a heavy shower. Outside his car, it was pouring cats and dogs, but it failed to deter a young girl from selling roses in front of halted cars, like every other day. The girl, with her baby brother in her arms, approached Vimal urging him to buy roses, which he refused.

“Suddenly, she made an unusual request. She kind of begged me to give her my umbrella. As soon as I handed over my old umbrella to her, she ran to one side and called her friends. Immediately, four other kids popped up from here and there and rushed together under that one umbrella, with broad grins brightening up their faces as well as my day,” narrates Vimal.

A Single Facebook Post Started The Cover Project

The incident deeply moved Vimal who realised how an object as trivial as an umbrella can be a lifesaver for these homeless street children. Soon, he wrote a Facebook post, appealing to everyone to donate their old umbrellas to the street kids near them.

“The post got circulated like wildfire. It served as an eye-opener for many others like me. They all came together and prodded me with the idea of ‘The Cover Project’,” he shares.


Initially, The Cover Project had started with a handful of volunteers, connected through a Facebook forum with the same name. They organised multiple drives in and around Mumbai, distributing pre-owned as well as brand new umbrellas to help street children withstand the rainy season.


Cover Project

Soon, the word about the project spread throughout the country and even beyond her borders. Non-residential Mumbaikars from all parts of the world started fundraising for the cover project, which resulted in the donation of around 2000 umbrellas to the children in 2018.


Welcoming Doctors On-Board For Free Health Check-Ups

“During our distribution drives, I noticed how a lot of infectious diseases affect these children in monsoon. When I shared my concern about this problem, around 15 medical students working with Switch India volunteered to collaborate with us. They now accompany us in every drive and do free health check-ups for these kids,” shares Vimal.

Cover Project

The group also organises hygiene awareness workshops for the kids to teach them how to keep themselves clean.

The Answer To All Criticism

“Umbrella? That’s not really something people need!”

“It’s useless to distribute umbrellas. They could have donated food or clothes or anything like that.”

“These poor people will take the umbrellas from you and sell it off elsewhere.”

Narrow-minded criticism about the Cover Project does persist among sceptics who consider umbrella distribution as a trivial initiative. But Vimal and his army of Good Samaritans believe that all the negative feedback fades away once they see unadulterated smiles on those innocent faces after receiving sprightly-coloured umbrellas.

Cover Project

10-year-old Mala used to assist her parents in their family trade of selling Mogra flowers. Vimal had asked her, “How do you go to school in the rains?”. To this, she nonchalantly replied, “Bhaag ke (by running).”

Her reply startled Vimal to the core. “I realised that if my simple act is allowing a girl to pursue her education smoothly, then it is indeed a success,” he expresses.

Replication In Bengaluru & Kolkata

This year, with the ongoing rains in Mumbai, Cover Project has distributed around 1700 umbrellas. They recently organised an umbrella painting workshop, through which a substantial amount of funds were raised to purchase more umbrellas.

“We are hoping to reach the 3000 mark soon in the count of umbrellas,” Vimal asserts.

Inspired by Cover Project Mumbai, similar initiatives have been replicated in Kolkata and Bengaluru where hundreds of umbrellas were distributed among homeless children.

If you wish to contribute your bit for this incredible endeavour, contact The Cover Project now.

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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