This women-led social initiative raised funds for COVID-19-affected people

By Nirandhi Gowthaman|10th Aug 2020
Duniya, an outreach venture started by Priyanka Khanna and Hemali Jain, brought together 32 designers and artists to create T-shirts that were sold to raise funds for people affected by COVID-19 and environmental projects.
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From the US presidential elections to the Indian environmental conservation organisations facing a digital blockade by the Indian government, climate change and environmental protection seem to be issues of contention for many. Several reports and scientific studies have called for climate action, like the 2019 report by 11,258 scientists from 153 countries, which reported that the planet “clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency”.


Priyanka Khanna and Hemali Jain, Co-founders of social initiative Duniya 2020, wanted to create awareness among people, especially children, about the environment.


Duniya cofounders

Priyanka Khanna and Hemali Jain, Co-founders of Duniya. Credit: Duniya team




“We wanted to come together to increase awareness through a sustainable and artistic ecosystem,” says Priyanka, an entrepreneur, who curates fashion and lifestyle events.


The two friends planned Duniya as a one-day event to bring together schoolchildren and artists on Earth Day, which falls on April 22. They planned to use recycled material and sustainable art to create awareness around the theme, Save the Earth. However, the COVID-19 pandemic halted their plans.


Priyanka and Hemali, who is a budding health coach and fashion entrepreneur, turned Duniya into an outreach program and tied up with Tanisha Rahimtoola Agarwal, Founder of Curato, a menswear fashion brand, and celebrity stylist Sanjana Batra.


The initiative brought together 32 designers and celebrated talents like Anamika Khanna, Ridhi Mehra, Anushka Khanna, Kresha Bajaj, Péro, Payal Singhal, Kanika Goyal, Gauri Nainika, Saaksha & Kinni, Dhruv Kapoor, Ridhima Bhasin to raise funds for NGO Project Mumbai.


Founded by Shishir Joshi, Project Mumbai has launched initiatives like ‘Khaana Chahiye’ and ‘Ghar Bhejo’ and helped feed and transport many poor and helpless migrants hit by the pandemic.

T-shirts for a cause

Priyanka and Hemali convinced 32 artists and creators to design a unique T-shirt on the theme ‘Save the Earth’. They urged the artists to create a design which represented what ‘duniya’ meant to them.


The end result was a collection of creative, limited edition T-shirts that were locally sourced and manufactured using recycled fabrics, earthy prints, and embroideries. These T-shirts went on sale on Curato’s website on July 29, with prices ranging from Rs 2,500 to 7,000.


All the T-shirts were sold in a day and Duniya raised close to Rs 1.6 lakh. The entire funds from the sale went to Project Mumbai.


Duniya t-shirts

T-shirts made by designers Shriya Soam, Natasha Dalal and Arjun Kilachand for the Duniya initiative. Credit: Duniya team




“We wanted to do something to help people during the pandemic. As Hemali was already working with Project Mumbai, we wanted to create awareness and give all the proceeds to charity,” says Priyanka.


The funds raised from the sale will be used by Project Mumbai to extend assistance to the disabled and senior citizens affected by the pandemic. A part of the funds will help restart the ‘recyclathon’ program of the NGO.


“Due to COVID-19, waste disposal has also increased with people using masks and other things and then discarding them. So, that’s why one of the ways the funds are going to be used for the environment programme of Project Mumbai,” Hemali says.

Vocal for Local

By partnering with local designers and artists and locally producing, sourcing and manufacturing, the co-founders aimed to promote ‘Vocal for Local’ campaign. With the pandemic affecting people as well as small and local businesses, Hemali and Priyanka wanted to help in that space as well.


“We wanted to support our local Indian designers. It’s about being vocal for local. We need to support all the tailors and labourers, especially those who are suffering. We felt it was the need of the hour to support Indian creators and designers,” says Priyanka.


Going further, Priyanka and Hemali hope to make Duniya an annual event with creative and artistic approach to create awareness about environmental conservation and use the funds received to support different charities each year.


As the pandemic recedes, they hope to complete their earlier planned event for Earth Day with schoolchildren as the two believe that the youth and future generations play a vital role in protecting the environment.


Edited by Javed Gaihlot

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