These Digital Empowerment Centers will train weavers in basic digital skills and communication & business correspondence skills, to enable the weavers to effectively position their wares for business. The centres will also help the weavers access and set up e-marketing platforms and other marketing channels. Microsoft will enable digital training through Project Sangam, a Microsoft Azure based Skill Training Platform.
In addition to digital training, Project Reweave will also help the weavers with working capital support to revive defunct looms and start production of the famed Narayanpet weave. These weavers and artisans will be provided with market linkages to market their products. They will also be trained in the use of natural dyes to enable them to make newer and sustainable handwoven products.
The Hon’ble Minister for Textiles, Sri KT Rama Rao, on the occasion of the inauguration of the digital centers said, “Digital technology is changing lives of Indians across every section of society. Working with global technology leaders like Microsoft has enabled us to bring technology to the doorsteps of our large weaver communities in the remotest districts of Telangana. The efforts by Microsoft to help revive the handloom sectors is laudable as it is preserving our country’s heritage and creating sustainable livelihoods”.
Speaking at the event, District Collector Sri Ronald Rose said “India is home to more than 470 traditional, skill-based, handloom clusters that offer the second largest employment opportunity in the country, after agriculture. However, these weaver communities are unable to sustain their livelihoods due to their unorganized nature, dispersed structure, lack of education and disassociation from modern technologies. These initiatives from Companies like Microsoft go a long way in enabling communities to sustain themselves and provide livelihood to artisans.”
In the first phase, Project Reweave supported Telangana and Andhra (Ikat, Gadwal, Gollabama, Mahadevpur, Narayanpet, Bobilli and Prondhur) weaver community of 50 + looms with infrastructure capital support, trained 350 plus weavers in Pochampally district in basic digital skills. The project targets to reach the entire weaving community across the state over the next year.
Speaking about the initiative, Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R&D) said, “As part of our Citizenship initiative in India, Microsoft is focused on reviving various handloom forms in India’s textile heritage. The two new Digital Empowerment Centers for the weavers and artisans is part of this endeavor, it ties into Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization in the communities we work in, by using our Azure based technology solutions and expertise to democratize opportunities and bridge the digital divide.”