When Anju Devi was 15 years old, she was married into a family with fewer means than her own. Her dreams of pursuing an education and
becoming a teacher were quickly dashed as she took on the health needs of her in-laws, while also providing for her three children. Eventually,
Devi and her husband left their home state of Bihar for better work opportunities in Delhi.
Anju, now 30, has been working at Richa Global for the past ten years. Her factory income has allowed her to contribute to her family’s
financial burdens as an equal partner and has also enabled her to send her children to school, so they can have a better future. But perhaps
equally important to her paycheck is her self-confidence, which has blossomed, loving the fact that her hard work is appreciated in stores
around the world.
In 2015, ANN INC. partnered with Richa to invest in their factory workers’ health and wellness. Anju’s positive attitude quickly made
her one of the factory’s favorite peer health educators, helping teach 1,500 workers about topics ranging from nutrition to water sanitation,
disease prevention and family planning. Fellow workers, her supervisor and even the General Manager have appreciated her efforts. She now
feels valued and hopes to work and grow at Richa forever.
Once underweight, Anju’s own health has greatly improved. Often skipping breakfast to rush to work or having to call in sick, she now
understands the importance of eating breakfast to remain alert during work and purifying water to prevent illness. In addition, Anju
and other women at the factory used discarded clothing scraps during their menstrual cycles, resulting in infections and the need
to call in sick. Now, they use sanitary napkins and eat an iron-rich diet to combat anemia.
Anju has been excited to share her health knowledge with her friends and neighbors. She used to be ashamed of her lack of education and
would worry that it would hold her children back at school. Now, she stands proudly in front of 500 children, parents and faculty to educate
them on their health. She was also recently asked by her children’s school to teach a health class on Sundays. Her dreams of becoming a teacher have
come true after all.