Urmila Gaikwad, a swimming coach at Orchids the International School, Kharadi is living proof that if you are determined to achieve something, age is just a number. This ambitious, courageous, and determined woman decided to complete her long overdue education along with her son.
Urmila lost her father at a very young age and due to financial crunch in the family, she had to drop out of school after grade 7. However, her life turned a new leaf in 2007 when she relocated to Pune with her husband and son.
While working initially as a swimming pool cleaner, she abruptly developed interest in learning swimming and decided to become an instructor. With the help of her manager, she completed her certification course in 2011. After that, she started participating in various competitions and received accolades. In 2011, she also started working as a professional swimming coach in various schools. Though she progressed quickly as a coach, she faced difficulty while communicating with the children she was training. She realised that her confidence was low as she did not complete her education during childhood. Most of the good schools refused her candidature as a swimming coach owing to her incomplete school education.
These hurdles only made her more resilient and she decided to overcome them with the most courageous step that she could take. She enrolled herself for Grade 10 as a private student while her son was also studying in the same grade as a regular student. Without any inhibitions, she revived her quest for learning after 23 long years of dropping out of 7th grade.
Her hard work paid off and she passed the exam with 45% marks. This was motivation enough for her to continue further and enrol as a regular student in the 11th grade along with her son. Without paying a heed to opinion others had of her, she came out with flying colours in her Grade 12 exam and scored a whopping 71%.
Her desire to learn and achieve has not ceased yet and she has now pulled up her socks to learn communicative English and is also pursuing her graduation degree in Arts. in fact, Urmila has become a paragon for the females of her family and her co-sister has also enrolled to take her Grade 12 exam, inspired by Urmila’s journey and achievements.
Inspiring stories like that of Urmila’s are much needed today. They teach us to persevere, nto strive and to not quit at the smallest of hurdles coming our way. You go, Urmila!