As a part of its Philanthropies initiative, Microsoft has launched a new ecommerce platform for handloom weavers in India which will help them to reach a wider customer base.
Called re-weave.in (ReWeave), the new platform will showcase the signature work of weavers, which will include traditional designs and products created from natural dyes. Since the new e-market will directly connect the weavers to the buyers, it will boost their earning while continuing to refresh the traditional Indian art.
In India, textile is the second biggest employment generator following agriculture. Over 4 million weaver-families rely on textiles for employment, with Telangana and Andhra Pradesh being the dominant states in country. In fact, India has remained the only country around the globe that still has genius weavers creating abstract fashion handwriting.
The aim of Microsoft Philanthropies is to empower everyone with technology, and train them with digital skills which have become a key for the jobs today.
“With the introduction of our new e-commerce platform, digital empowerment centers and the new design curriculum, the weavers will be able to build on the rich handloom heritage of India and also reach out to a wider customer base,” said Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R&D).
“ReWeave ties very well into Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization in the communities we work in by using Project Sangam- our Azure based technology solution and expertise to democratize opportunities and bridge the digital divide.”
The tech giant has also collaborated with National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), a pioneering institute of fashion education in India that provides professional human resource to the textile and apparel industry. Together, they have curated a special curriculum in ‘CAD and Color of Handloom Weaving’.
This curriculum is focused on offering the digital training in handloom design, as well as sharpening skills in marketing and entrepreneurship through Project Sangam. The first batch of 100 handloom weavers has already received certifications at NIFT for successfully completing the course.
“The Indian handloom industry is the second-largest employment provider for rural population in India with almost 43 lakh weavers,” said Chitra Sood, Director, Business Management, Microsoft India (R&D).
“Through ReWeave, we have extended support to handloom weavers and their families to optimize their operations, engage better with their customers and helping them transform their wares. These initial efforts have helped see a substantial rise in the annual income of the weavers in the three weaver clusters.”
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Microsoft is also going to support the artisans with capital through non-profit organizations, so that they can create new and in-demand handloom products. The tech giant has established a number of digital empowerment centers across Telangana in India.