Pune : The periphery of Pushpa Pokale’s life has hardly stretched beyond the loom that helps create beautiful saris and her village in Paithan, Aurangabad.
From January, the 45-year-old school drop out will also learn how to loop the computer to her will as part of a free, tailor-made course designed by the Pune centre of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
Pokale will also be able to complete a pre-graduation module through a special six-month Bachelor’s Preparatory Programme ahead of graduating from IGNOU. She is among 500 weavers from Paithan and Yeola, Nashik, who will be part of the course.
“The computer training programme will enable the women to browse the internet, understand the market and help improve their marketing skills. The programme has been tailor-made for the women to help them make presentations,” said Masoon Parvez, senior regional director of the IGNOU centre in Pune.
The course is part of a memorandum of understanding between IGNOU and Ministry of Textiles for skill development and educational upliftment of the weaver community. IGNOU has tied up with local study centres to augment learning skills and train the women.
Kushwarta Giri (35) from Paithan, who has studied until standard seven, is excited about the course. “After dropping out from school, I helped my parents in the weaving process. We have been told that the course would help us put our work on the internet. As of now, we only cater to dedicated clients to come here to give us orders. This will hopefully change soon,” she said.
Another weaver, Laxmi Gorde, pointed out that financial problems forced them to drop out of school even though they wanted to study.
Demonetization has impacted the weaver community with orders reducing immensely. “One Paithani sari would cost between Rs25,000 and Rs1 lakh. Usually, customers approach us to place orders ahead of a function and it takes two to six months to weave one sari. Individual orders are taken and the amount is given in phases. However, in the last two months many have not received any orders,” said Pokale, who is also a member of the handloom board.
Pokale and other weavers are hoping that computer skills would help their cluster browse the internet, understand market requirement, and scout for designs for Paithani dresses as well.
Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.