Provide computers for high-risk children in India

Jun 19, 2014

Trafficking of girls from Assam tea estates

ASSET India foundation, in partnership with Bachpan Bachao Andolan-BBA(Save the Childhood Movement) an organization founded by world renowned human rights activist Kailash Satyarthi has embarked on a fundraising challenge to rescue girls from the Assam tea plantations who have been sold by traffickers. Our goal is to help rescue at least 100 of the 127 girls whose parents have filed complaints with the Gauhati high court.

Video Link:

Shekhar Rahate, award winning fashion designer for events including the Presidential Inauguration, The Oscars and Emmys has agreed to donate his designs for fundraising events.

Thank you.

Ray Umashankar
Executive Director
ASSET India Foundation
Tucson, Arizona

Feb 14, 2014

Visiting partners in India Jan-Feb 2014

1.Attached photos were taken with some of the 130 trafficking survivors in Boisar, located 50 miles from Mumbai This center is run by our partner rescue Foundation.Two of the girls were pregnant and another two had their children with them. ASSET is providing the salaries for 2 teachers in each of the Rescue Foundation centers in Boisar, Mumbai and Pune. Also Infosys Foundation just informed ASSET about its donation of 20 computers for use in these centers.

2. A wealthy land developer in Kolkata has made a firm commitment to donate 1 acre land and hired an architect to design a hostel/training facility for 100 trafficking survivors. With the help of Sarah Symons, Founder of a list of rooms/specific requirements for the architect has been developed.

3. ASSET India Foundation has provided $83,333 in interest free loans to ex-devadasis ( women dedicated to temples as children and subsequently into sex work) to start income generating businesses to prevent their daughters/grand daughters from getting trafficked. I Traveled to six different villages in Belgaum district in the state of Karnataka, covering 250 miles over bone-jarring roads to meet with borrowers and their children. One pretty seventeen year old girl stood outi particular. She and her ex devadasi mother had traveled for hours to meet with me. The girl wants to take the entrance exam for engineering going against community pressure to get married. Her mother supports the girl's dream. They lacked the funds to pay for coaching classes and exam fees. The mother and daughter were in tears. What a privilege to be able to help this girl pursue her dream!

4. ASSET has entered into a partnership agreement with Anudip Foundation ( to provide training and  manage our center in Forbesgunj, Bihar.

Nov 20, 2013

Microfinance loans to devadasis (sex workers)

1. In partnership with Bangalore based Microfinance institution Milaap, ASSET India Foundation has funded $100,000 in interest loans to ex devadasis (sex workers) in 37 villages in Karnataka to start income generating businesses so that their daughters and grand daughters won't have to enter the flesh trade. Though the devadasi system of dedicating the oldest girl to the goddess yellamma is outlawed, the practice still continues undeground. Belgaum based NGO M.A.S.S has more than 3,500 members. Business proposals ranging from purchase of cattle, purchase of an auto-rickshaw to opening a photo shop were submitted to ASSET/Milaap for evaluation and approval. Millap sent a video team to several of the borrowers' villages to interview the members of self help groups (SHG). Video clips will be posted in the next report.

2. We have facilitated sending children of M.A.S.S members to our Bangalore partner Unnati for the 70 day skills training and job placement.

3. ASSET has partnered with two major NGOs Made By Survivors ( and Rescue Foundation ( to provide English and computer training to girls in their shelters in Kolkata and Mumbai respectively.

4. We have facilitated MAST ( Market Aligned Skills Training) for girls from Made By Survivors shelters at the Anudip Foundation facilities in Kolkata.

5. A detailed proposal has been submitted to the Jain Society of Northern California for the construction of a Women Empowerment Center (WEC) in Kolkata. (Attached)

6. Photos of girls in the computer training program in Kolkata attached 





Aug 23, 2013

New partnerships, Microfinance loans

In addition to our continued success with partners Prajwala, Apne Aap, the following new partnerships have been set in motion:

1. Mahila Abhivrudhdhi maththu Samrakshana Samsthe (MAAS) - Belgaum

A membership organization of ex-devadasis (sex workers), with over 2,500 members, MASS has acquired good visibility and sound working systems. They have independently secured the long-term lease of land from the Government but continue to work on acquiring the means to construct a permanent office for themselves. ASSET India has funded $100,000 in loans to 262 women through, a leading microfinance organization in India to set up their own income generating businesses so that their daughters and grand daughters will not enter the sex trade.

2.  Rescue Foundation- Mumbai, Pune, Delhi

The largest rescue agency in India, Rescue Foundation has achieved a prominent position in anti-human trafficking, and is known to be very active, transparent, and honest in fulfilling its mission of re-integrating rescued girls into society.

The RF Investigations and Rescue Team recovers over a thousand girls from brothels in Mumbai and Pune every year.  The survivors, who come from Nepal, Bangladesh, and rural India, are first housed in one of Rescue Foundation's three shelter homes while legal proceedings are undertaken by RF's their legal team.  Many girls are repatriated and either reunited with their families, or sent to shelter homes in their home state or country.  Others need long-term aftercare in the shelter homes, since their families were involved in selling the girls into slavery.

3. Made By Survivors- Kolkata

Working to educate survivors of trafficking and other human rights abuses. Their programs provide training in highly respected professions including jewelry design with wages high enough to get people out of poverty and able to support themselves independently. Some of the first jewelry trainees are now serving as trainers, program managers and mentors for new trainees. 

4. Unnati - Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Coimbatore, Raichur

Unnati is a 70 day vocational training program offered free of cost to the less educated, unemployed and economically backward youth with an assured job at the end of the training period. Unnati enables inclusive growth by empowering families below poverty line. 

5Anudip Foundation & Kolkata, Various regions of West Bengal

Anudip Foundation began establishing training centers (Market Aligned Skill Training)  with three locations in the Sundarbans region of eastern India. These first centers were learning prototypes launched in partnership with community NGOs. They allowed the development of local learning techniques, course content, sustainability of operations, and ease of replication.  The growing success of the MAST training centers led to the concept of an iMerit Center, not only to absorb graduates of our MAST centers, but also to address the burgeoning growth of the BPO sector in India and the global market. In its first phase, spanning two years, iMerit was thus incubated by Anudip foundation under the nonprofit umbrella. In April 2012, iMerit moved to its second phase as an independent commercial Web Enabled IT Service company with a social mission. In the coming year, iMerit will expand its operations to many Indian states. 

Attached are reports from Prajwala and Apne Aap.


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 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.

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Project Leader

Ray Umashankar

Tucson, AZ United States

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