Anju is a proud mother and poultry farmer who really enjoys tending to her chicks and creating a good life with her husband and two sons in rural Sindhupalchowk district. However, life hasn’t always been like this for Anju.

At the age of 15, Anju lost both her parents and had to move in with her uncle and aunt. There, she was forced to work tirelessly for hours and rarely had a full meal.

“I couldn’t do all the work assigned to me as it was very tiring. Just a year after my mother’s death, my uncle and aunt found a man and married me off. I used to feel as if I was a burden for people around me. At the age of 17, I had my first baby. I was a child myself, unable to cope with life on my own, and here I had a child of my own to take care of.” 

In 2019, Anju was identified by CLAMP project staff as being at high risk of modern slavery. As part of CLAMP’s livelihood skills development initiative, she received training in poultry farming, based on local needs and her own interests.

“During the training, I learnt the best practices for poultry farming. I also learned about the issues of modern slavery and how it trapped young people, especially women and girls. From my own experience, I also know the dangers of child marriage and advise all girls to not get married early.”

After successfully completing her training, Anju received 62 chicks as part of the initiative. She took a loan from a community-based organisation and built a shed for her chickens, and has paid most of it off.

Anju’s husband has been supportive of her business and assists her whenever she needs. Their overall financial situation has been steadily improving. Today, both their children attend school. Anju has plans to formally register her business and grow it further in the coming years.

“As I earned a decent amount from poultry farming in the beginning of the business itself, I am now approached by neighbours, and by even my husband, regarding ideal farming techniques and suggestions for improving their work. I feel very proud of myself.”