Handloom is a national treasure of India with a marvelous past and sadly, a questionable future. Many weavers no longer wish to practice handloom as they believe their hereditary profession to be both non-remunerative and unfashionable. Handloom weavers need and deserve a school where their skills and rich heritage can be utilized and where further training will enable them to pursue new opportunities for their future.
The creation of a unique Handloom School specifically designed for young weavers in Maheshwar, Central India, is an innovative initiative launched by WomenWeave. Its intent is to provide a rigorous, nontraditional education for students who possess traditional weaving skills but no access to a conventional academic education.
The Handloom School proposes to offer a work-study program with a specialized curriculum in design, textile technology, business, and sustainability. The aim of this signature program is to provide both traditional and cutting edge training, which permits weavers to earn a dignified and equitable livelihood as well as gain a broader perspective of handloom.The proposed school will unfold in three phases of development: Phase one will be a prototype school; phase two will establish the permanent school; and phase three will become a network of satellite programs in many regions across India. In addition to this learning component, it is anticipated that the school will become a central repository for handloom weaving knowledge and practices, a place where one of the world’s great cultural assets – handloom – can be preserved, developed and evolved.