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Bodo fabrics to test waters in Scottish highlands

- Fashion show at Edinburgh aims to promote financial independence of indigenous women
Women weavers on the Weaving Destination campus in Kokrajhar. Telegraph picture

Kokrajhar, Aug. 5: Bodo fabric designs will soon compare warp and weft with Scottish tartans.

Fabrics woven by Bodo women will be showcased at a fashion show to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, the UK, on August 14. The beautiful hand-woven fabrics will be displayed at the event to be held at St John’s Church, Prince Street, Edinburgh, by Scottish and international designers.

The initiative to hold the fashion show was taken by Weaving Destination UK, a social enterprise that promotes financial independence and empowerment of indigenous women in the Northeast through the sale of their hand-woven organic cotton and eri silk products. It will promote the fabrics spun by Bodo women at Weaving Destination Livelihood Campus located at Onthaigwlao in Kokrajhar.

Digambar Narzary, director of Nedan Foundation and a co-founder of Weaving Destination, said international designers had made wonderful designs from the fabrics. “Scarves, bags and other fashion products will be available for purchase at the fashion show and all proceeds will directly benefit the tribal women here and their community,” he said. He hoped the event would open doors for the locally spun fabrics.

Weaving Destination, a weaving production unit, was established in 2008 by Nedan Foundation in Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) to create a source of livelihood for the vulnerable indigenous women and girls, many of whom live with HIV/AIDS and are survivors of human trafficking.

The association has become a common facilities centre for home-based and cluster weavers in Bodo villages, especially in Kokrajhar district. At present, 222 women and girls are associated with it.

Narzary said Melting Pot, an Edinburgh-based NGO, had awarded Nedan Foundation the Social Innovation Incubator Award in 2012 and in appreciation of its work, had taken the initiative to market fabrics woven at Weaving Destination in Scotland.

The award was another step for Nedan which is committed to convert the traditional weaving skills of Bodo women into income-earning opportunities. It has also started selling online the exclusive hand-woven finished products made by the indigenous women out of the finest organic eri silk and high chemical-free cotton fabrics. These are available at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Weaving Destination.

The products produces at Weaving Destination are also sold at the Tribes Shop set up by the Union ministry of tribal affairs in New Delhi and other craft-promoting agencies.