For the last two years, project DigiKala — an initiative to digitally empower handloom weavers — has been working towards ensuring all weaver families in Barpali and Nuapatna handloom clusters of Odisha have least one digitally literate person in the household. Through the efforts of the ground staff, several youth from weaver households have even begun to use CAD/CAM software to create new and accurate designs based on contemporary market demands. Together, they have also been able to create a repository of designs. Meanwhile, market linkages have been established through an exclusive e-Commerce website and active social media presence.
To showcase the project’s efforts at fusion of traditional and contemporary, project partner Microsoft held a small exhibition on October 17 at Gurgaon office where DigiKala products were displayed for sale. Microsoft corporation and its employees supported the exhibition with their ‘Donate a Loom’ campaign under which employees were encouraged to either donate in cash or buy handloom products; and Microsoft matched the employees’ donation amount. The amount collected through this campaign will support the installation of eight new handlooms in Odisha.