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The weavers from Ponduru village in Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh, who are renowned to make fine 'Ponduru' Khadi have been facing difficulties lately. For years, they have struggled to keep themselves afloat. Lately, they have been unable to market or sell their products.
Two years ago, a group of young engineers came to their rescue. Upon learning about the plight of these weavers, this group of young techies decided to create an online platform. Now, their products get attention across the world.
Initially, the group of four software engineers approached the weavers to make a documentary on the famous 'Ponduru' Khadi. It, however, shocked them to learn that the weavers only earn about ₹ 200 a day. The engineers then decided to use their skills to help the artisans.
They created a website and motivated the weavers to join, with the aim to market their products online and help them sell their products through the website.
The four techies, Pogiri Jawanth Naidu, Suraj Potnuru, Sailendra and Bharadwaj, are all residents of different villages in Srikakulam.
Jaswanth Naidu says that he decided to create an online marketing platform after observing the dire conditions of the Khadi workers in Ponduru. The platform (loom2home) is being renovated at the moment, he added.
The nearby villages including Ponduru have about 1,000 khadi workers. Faced with difficulties in the trade, many children of Khadi workers migrated in search of other jobs and chose not to continue in the business.
Naidu adds that they involved about 200 selected customers from across the country on their newly renovated website, who buy cloth worth Rs 10,000 per year. About 50 weavers sell their produce on the website, and they are being motivated to design clothes that would be liked by the youngsters.
Naidu shares that there is a huge demand for Ponduru khadi in Western countries and middlemen make huge profits by marketing Ponduru khadi. He explains, however, that their role as a group is to be facilitators between the khadi workers and customers and they not expecting any profit. The main aim of creating the website is to eliminate middlemen, he adds.
The techies say they are planning to create a mobile app that would serve as a design bank including the work of prominent fashion designers.
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