By Sk Mohd Niyaz, Bhubaneswar: Bidyabati Meher from Barpali of Bargarh district has been selected for the 25 under 25 award by Internet Society for her leadership role with the handloom weavers.
Only 22 years old, Bidyabati Meher works with the Digital Empowerment Foundation, for the project supported by Microsoft.
Digikala is a project to support and promote Ikat weavers of Barpali and Nuapatna using Digital technologies. Bidya was a student of Digital Literacy at Barpali, little more than a year ago. A weaver herself, Bidyabati soon became computer design and tie dye trainer at the Digikala centre and has since used the power of internet and digital technology to mobilise the handloom weavers of Barpali to learn computer aided designs and reach out to a larger market.
Bidya has been able to work around many societal barriers such as strict roles defined by caste and gender, and has truly emerged as a social change maker ad enabler in her community. For using internet to bring change and for being the only ‘lady master weaver’ of Barpali, as other master weavers of Barpali like to call her, Bidya has been invited for a special award ceremony at California, USA in September.