On August 7, 2017, on the occasion of World Handloom Day, DEF celebrated the day with weavers associated with DCDP in Saidanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Barpali and Nupatna (Odisha), Musiri and Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu), Chanderi (Madhya Pradesh), Pochampally and Narayanpet (Telangana). In Tamil Nadu, the DCDP staff from Musiri and Kanchipuram — where DEF runs initiatives to digitally empower the weaver community in collaboration with Mphasis and Nokia — participated at an event organised at the Weavers Service Centre (WSC) in Salem to represent DCDP and talk about its eCommerce efforts and best practices from various clusters.
The event was attended by weavers and organisations working in the area of handloom, besides representatives from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), National Handloom Development Corporation Limited (NHDC), Indian Institute of Handloom Technology Salem, WSC Salem and COPEX.
Together, they discussed how to ensure students from drop out from NIOS; need to introduce higher education certificate courses for youth from weaver families; making raw materials easily available for weavers through initiatives such as eDhaga; and efforts to increase sales and marketing through eCommerce portals and initiatives such as DCDP.
The occasion gave DEF the opportunity to share with relevant stakeholders its mission, vision, efforts targeted towards the handloom community and case stories from various clusters where it is present. The result was IGNOU agreeing to join hands with DEF’s DCDP clusters in Musiri and Kanchipuram to develop a weaver-centric curriculum for a three-month computer literacy programme, which will be available to youth through a mobile van.
In Saidanpur, meanwhile, a meeting was organised on World Handloom Day with the weavers at the Baank-e-Loom digital resource centre. Here, the ground staff engaged the weavers in a dialogue to talk about their craft, discuss challenges and showcase the potential of digital tools in finding solutions. A couple of related short films were screened as well for the weavers.