ASSET India Foundation

The primary mission of the ASSET is to provide computer literacy for education towards alternate livelihood and as a means of AIDS prevention. The program is designed to assist the children to attain a level of education and familiarity with technology that will enable them to free themselves from being chained to the same profession. The ASSET India Foundation supports Education of the children using Computer Based Functional Literacy and small business ownership using Microfinance.
Apr 24, 2013

Educating the children of Devadasis

ASSET India Foundation has identified two reputable organization in the state of Karnataka that rehabilitate and educate the children of devadasis. In order to prevent the children from entering the flesh trade, ASSET will be providing laptop computers and digital educational content through iEinstein.org founded by well known Silicon Valley entrepreneur Kamran Elahian. The same program will also be offered in two additional locations in Kolkata.

The practice of Devadasi, meaning ‘a woman who serves god’, is an ancient Indian custom by which a girl is ceremoniously dedicated or married to a deity or to a temple to serve the goddess Yellamma. Traditionally Devadasis had a particular status in their community but over recent years the practice has been made illegal and has degenerated so that low-caste girls are being exploited and abused in the sex industry.

The Devadasi practice of serving the goddess Yellamma has been exploited so that dedicated girls are expected, once they reach puberty, to serve the goddess by having sexual relations with men for money in their community. The girls are also extremely vulnerable to being sold or trafficked into urban brothels in Bombay, New Delhi, or other main cities. The custom is illegal but the practice continues. This child abuse and exploitation is always and unequivocally wrong. Articles 34 and 35 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child require states to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.

Grinding poverty and lack of opportunities for Madiga families from the lowest caste can lead desperate parents to resort to dedicating their children to serve as Devadasi. The caste system plays a key role in both the corrupted Devadasi system and trafficking of girls into the sex industry. The practice is historically related to the worship of deities particular to the lower, Madiga caste. Extreme poverty and routine discrimination experienced by Madiga families further increase the risk of dedication. Parents who have no male children sometimes dedicate one of their daughters so she will be able to care for them in their old age. Women who have been widowed, or who are living with HIV dedicate their daughters as Devadasis if they struggle to support them or anticipate difficulty with marriage prospect is not uncommon for the female children of Devadasi women to be dedicated as Devadasis themselves, repeating the cycle.

The impact on girls is extreme. Most Devadasi girls are separated from their families at a very young age and are forced to work in the sex industry at abysmally low wages which increases their vulnerability to trafficking, malnutrition and infection of HIV/AIDS.

ASSET has been invited to apply for a $50,000 grant to fund the above projects.

Jan 17, 2013

Stanford students select ASSET for class project

At the invitation of Professor Tom Kosnik (Fenwick and West Consulting Professor, Stanford Technology Ventures Program,), ASSET India Foundation submitted the Forbesgunj BPO proposal (attached) to the Global Entrepreneurship Marketing (GEM) course.

The formal presentation was made by me on January 11th at Stanford. There were 31 presenters from companies including Intel, Ericsson and others. Student teams had to slect their top three projects and ASSET was selected in the first round itself and the kick off meeting was held on Monday January 15th. The team consisting of four students will develop a detailed marketing plan for the ASSET BPO in Forbesgunj, offering IT services to Indian and multi national companies operating in India. The completed plan will be used for fundraising purposes as well.

Several student leaders who were present at the presentation have invited ASSET India Foundation for fundraising events on the Stanford campus.

Senior managent at Cisco in San Jose, California have invited ASSET India Foundation to make a presentation at a fundraiser in February 2013.

ASSET is being considered for inclusion as one of the charities to benefit from a mobile game playing contest.

In view of the horrifying rape in Delhi, we will investigate the opportunity to help change men's attitudes towards women by recruiting boys who are children of sex workers. Thus far, we focused entirely on recruiting only girls and admitted boys as and when space permitted



Attachments:
Oct 11, 2012

Forbesgunj center progress report

ASSET India Foundation is building a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) center in Forbesgunj, Bihar- close to the India Nepal border. This center will train and employ 100 girls who have been rescued from sex trafficking, children of sex workers and vulnerable girls.

1. The girls will be paid 2000 Rupees per month during the six month training.

2. After training, they will be employed by ASSET partner Ruralshores at 4,200 Rupees per month.

3. Infosys Foundation has donated 100 desk top computers for this project

4. Desi Power is designing a 50 KW Biomass power plant which will use rice husk and wood chips as fuel

5. Desi Power is also designing the center which will which will house the 100 computers.

6. Gates Foundation is interested in using this center for training their field healthcare workers.

7. Insurance and other companies will utilize this center for their document processing.

8. A total of $100,000 ( $50,000 each for the construction of the center and the power plant) has to be raised by ASSET  by December 15, 2012. 

A special thanks to the donors at GlobalGiving, without whom we would not be able to provide a new life for these girls.

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