Empowered to Change, and Now to Help Others

By Avani Bhadra
November 8, 2014
Avani Bhadra

I grew up in a large family as the eldest daughter with three sisters and one brother in Anhar, India. Because of my family’s financial situation, it was very difficult for me to pursue higher education. And because of my culture, I was not encouraged to seek work outside my home.

I was grateful, therefore, to find work as a machine operator at the Welspun Factory, where my mother worked. She encouraged me to join the Women in Factories Training Program, which was led by Swasti. While I was hesitant at first, I am so thankful I took her advice.

The training has changed my life. I learned skills and concepts that help me at work and at home, such as communication, leadership, budgeting and women’s equality. I was quite shy before I began the program but the curriculum and my teachers improved my self-confidence, which has helped me to grow personally and professionally. I have been promoted to a master trainer role at Welspun, where I am able to inspire many young women who are just like me. 

Thanks to the training program, I now have dreams I never had before – to pursue my education and become a better trainer. I have been given the role of an elder in my family and am consulted for many important decisions, and I am thrilled to report that my siblings are now attending school. In my village, an unmarried woman is typically not allowed to go outside the home to work, but because of my success at Welspun, girls are now able to work in the factory.

While these changes have been incredible, I am most grateful for the opportunity to help other women. I initially saw the training program as a way to further my own studies, but I now see it as a chance to empower others. This program is very meaningful for working women and they are taught many important things, like gender discrimination, the value of saving, and leadership. My goal is to empower each of my students and to change the mentality of my society so that we can work together toward the positive development of women and our communities in India.

Avani Bhadra is a participant in Walmart’s Women in Factories Training Program organized by Swasti and made possible with funding from the Walmart Foundation. She is one of the 60,000 women who have participated in the Women in Factories Training Program, sponsored by the Walmart Foundation, located in China, India, Bangladesh, Honduras and El Salvador.