A window to the world!

This entry was posted by skovian.

Vrunda Juwale visited entrepreneur Varsha Jagtap’s Varsha Educom, an institute in Saswad that helps women take computer classes and lessons in English, and came back impressed

A window to the world!

Vrunda Juwale visited entrepreneur Varsha Jagtap’s Varsha Educom, an institute in Saswad that helps women take computer classes and lessons in English, and came back impressed

Shashi Godbole of English Vinglish is not just a screen character. At Varsha Educom in Saswad, you find many more Shashis. “I have done my M Com, but I couldn’t speak English earlier and was scared to speak in public. And see now, I am talking to you in English, all thanks to ma’am,” a young girl, Priya Chalekar, tells me in almost flawless English. Her enthusiasm bowls you over and puts a smile on the face of her ‘ma’am — Varsha Jagtap.

“Many of these women come from Saswad and nearby villages, with hardly any education and no knowledge of computers. They wanted to learn computers but were not comfortable enrolling in classes where there are male instructors and students. So I started Varsha Educom in 2011, the first institute by a woman in Saswad. As I realised that to understand computers, they needed to know English too, I added the basic English classes,” Varsha tells us.


Personality development and soft skills too figure in the courses offered at her centre, she tells us. She surely knows the impediments in rural women’s growth. “Yes, I do. I came to Saswad after marriage in 1988 and with my in-laws’ support, continued with my studies — I have a science degree, a diploma in Computer Management, have done a few crash courses in Oracle, C+ and a beautician’s course too, but I know how in most rural families, women are not allowed to go out and how those who are allowed to, lack confidence. That is why I decided to work for making these women confident through education. Since this centre is run by a woman, the families of these women do not hesitate to send them here,” Varsha adds.

Before starting the centre, Varsha did a couple of jobs. She worked as an instructor at Aptech’s first branch at Saswad, worked at Gandhinglaj Sugar Factory and recently worked with Max New York Life Insurance as Territory Manager. The sugar factory experience taught her a lot. “I worked for five years there as EDP in-charge of the Computer Department. The first six months were really tough. The factory was just adopting computerisation and its male workers were feeling insecure about their jobs. With me coming in, they resorted to non-cooperation. I used to get calls at odd hours in the night to fix some machine problems for which the workers knew the solutions. However, I didn’t lose heart and stuck on. Later they realised that I wasn’t there to snatch their jobs and started cooperating with me,” Varsha recalls.

Varsha Educom has trained 450 students so far. Anganwadi workers and self-help groups have also enrolled with them in the past. And neither Varsha nor the students want to stop at computers, English or soft skills. “Last year, I studied French from a lady associated with Alliance Francaise and now the rural women, who have been introduced to English are telling me to teach them French too,” she says.

The education revolution Varsha started is growing, it has to!


Fiftyeight-year-old Saswad resident Suman Kandage is all smiles when she tells us how learning computers at Varsha Educom has changed her life. “My sons are working in the US. The only way I could communicate with them earlier was through the phone but after learning computers, I have started using email, skype and the webcam. My son is so happy, he recently sent me a laptop which I use now,” Kandage says.

11Knowledge of computer and functional English has helped Suvarna

Kamthe, another Saswad resident a lot. Kamthe runs hobby and cookery classes in Saswad and is a correspondent with a Marathi newspaper. “I had to send my reports to the newspaper by post earlier but thanks to this course at Varsha Educom, now I mail them the stuff. That’s quick and saves a lot of effort,” she says with a smile.

12Madhuri Wadelkar runs a mess for college students in Saswad and struggled to communicate with the students from Kerala, Assam and other states because she didn’t know English while they couldn’t speak in Marathi. “But after doing the basic English class at Varsha Educom, I can converse with them. That has made life easy,” Wadelkar says.

300 women screened at bone density camp

Additional information


Project Initiative

, ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *