Sabhyasachhi Patra, a VII passed student from Abhirampur village in Nuapatna, Odisha, was struggling to complete his education due to the family’s poor financial condition. His father is a landless weaver, and the entire family, including Sabhyasachhi, depends on handloom silk weaving as a source of livelihood. The financial condition and pressure from his family to contribute to the household income had forced him to drop out of school and start working as a full-time weaver. Today, he earns Rs. 4,000 per month, working under a local master weaver. However, it’s designing that interests Sabhyasachhi more than weaving.
While he is good at designing textiles, he hasn’t had as many opportunities at designing as he would wish. However, among the few designs that he has created, his master weaver has been announced as a winner for one of the designs created by Sabhyasachhi.
The young man has a keen interest in computers and wants to learn digital designing to improve his skills and ensure efficiency in production. With this aim in mind, Sabhyasachhi recently completed the basic digital literacy course available at the DigiKala centre in Nuapatna, which is 3.5 kilometres from his home. His grasp at computer knowledge was so quick that Sabhyasachhi is now capable of training others in computers and use of the Internet. Due to his determination, focus and caliber, Sabhyasachhi has been selected for the digital design course under project DigiKala.
Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) in partnership with Microsoft Corporate Citizenship has adopted the weaving cluster of Nuapatna and Barpali in Odisha, and initiated DigiKala — a project that primarily involves inclusive and decentralised use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and other digital tools in critical aspects of cluster development, especially improving and scaling up weaving skills, designs, marketing and entrepreneurship, besides creating sustainable livelihood options for the youth in the clusters. The development focus of the model allows the integration of both the social and economic capital needs of the targeted artisan communities towards inclusive growth.