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Here's how Nokia is helping weavers in Kanchipuram

The program will focus on three villages in the region that has a population of over 5000 of which a tenth are weavers.

November 21, 2017 / 06:28 PM IST

Finnish technology giant Nokia has come forward to help the weaving community of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. The technology giant launched the development program titled ‘KanchiLoom’ along with a Delhi-based NGO, Digital Employment Foundation (DEF).

The historic city of Kanchipuram has a legacy of being a hub for the production high-quality garments. The weavers in the region from the days of Sangam era have been acclaimed for their handwoven products, particularly the silk sarees.

However, with time the weaving community has seen their fortunes declining. Even though the demand for their products is still high, they are often exploited by middlemen and established firms who exploit their lack of knowledge. This is leading to poverty and a slow decline of the industry.

The new program is aimed at ending this exploitation by imparting proper technological knowledge to the community. Initially, the program will focus on three villages in the region that has a population of over 5000 of which about 500 are weavers.

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Source: DEF India, YouTube

According to Osama Manzar, the founder of DEF, the program is aimed towards ‘bringing back the dignity and skills of the weavers.’

As part of the program, weavers and their families will be educated in various skills including ‘spoken English’, computer designing among others. An integrated digital resource centre called Cluster Resource Centre (CRC) will impart education on various aspects of technology that will enable the community to use the digital media to access information about various aspects including products, opportunities, entitlements and markets. Thus, the project will make the weaver community independent and sufficient.

According to Sunil Sayal, CFO and member of CSR committee of Nokia India, the program is in line with the vision of PM Narendra Modi to use digital literacy as a weapon to bridge the wide economic disparity that exists within the country.

While other details including whether the tech giant will expand the activity of the program are not yet clear, the fact that it could bring even a small shift in the declining fortune of the region could itself be an achievement.
first published: Nov 21, 2017 06:28 pm

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