Provide computers for high-risk children in India

 
$207,249
$79,751
Raised
Remaining
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.

Links:

Jul 10, 2012

India Trip Progress report

Teaching World geography at the Delhi center
Teaching World geography at the Delhi center
BREAKING NEWS: Just received word from Infosys, Bangalore that they will be donating 100 Desktops to the Forbesgunj, BPO project. Computers will be shipped end of July.
DELHI
Our center in Delhi trains girls who are children of sex workers. In this community of Najafgarh, the men sit around drinking and playing cards all day and send their wives out for sex work from midnight till 4 am. Many of the men have cars and they drive the wives to the hotels or sidedness! They don't let their daughters do sex work and demand a huge dowry for marriage. Once married, their husbands send them out for sex work. These women earn 1000 to 1500 rupees a night. I actually saw the men sitting on the street and playing cards. I wanted our car to run over them.  We are teaching the girls about alternatives means to a livelihood. I loved the time I spent with the them. They wanted me to see their Bhangra dance. they were absolutely amazing! they performed in a small hot room in mid day heat in Delhi This center has 25 girls enrolled. There are 8 female staff members doing outreach, convincing more women to send their daughters to the center. Our NGO partner is in the process of opening another center near G.B. Road, the oldest brothel area in Delhi. 
BANGALORE
In Bangalore, ASSET's partner organization Swasthi which has 7 centers serving 15,000 + sex workers is recruiting students for our next batch which will start on July 7th at the Unnati center, our partner organization. 

KOLKATA
At the Kolkata center, I told the students that if they answered all my questions about the various regions in India, I will buy pizza for all of them. They came through with flying colors and 40 students enjoyed pizza at my expense!:) 

CHENNAI
We received 20 used computers as a donation from FirstSource and 10 will be used in the Chennai center in partnership with Unnati

FORBESGUNJ, Bihar
One of the critical requirements for the BPO is uninterrupted electrical power for 18 hours a day. Forbesgunj does not have adequate power supply.
The easy solution would have been to opt for an inexpensive diesel generator but high fuel costs. We have decided use a Biomass generator that burns rice husk to generate electric power.
There is an abundant supply of rice husk in and around Forbesgunj.
The problem was to find a piece of 5,000 sq ft land for the generator. Mr. Vidyasagar Gupta, a local mill owner and landlord is donating the land and also a large warehouse that will house the BPO. 
1. 50 KW Biomass Generator:
a. Total installed cost is $100,000. Central government will provide a subsidy of $7,500. Balance to be financed at 5%
     through government approved lending agencies over 7 years. Loan will be repaid by revenues generated from sale 
     of electricity to the BPO. As of now, no donor funding required.
2. Desktop Computers:
a. Already have commitment from a donor for 20 computers ($12,000)
b. Have recommended to BO partner Ruralshores that we start with 80 PCs instead of 100. 
c. We are in need of additional donors to fund the purchase of the additional 60 computers at $600 each.
d. Awaiting cost of locally made furniture (work stations)
e. Received the BPO physical layout from Ruralshores. Will get local contractors to bid on remodeling.
3. Fiber optic cable connection:
a. Reliance has it available close to BPO site
b. Ruralshores will include the cost of the network cabling in its operating cost.
Recently retired General Manager of the National Bank of agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is heling with the
Loan application for the biomass generator. 
 
 

 


ASSET center-Forbesgunj
ASSET center-Forbesgunj
Apr 6, 2012

Good news and some not so good news

I am very pleased that Lumos Labs, creator of Lumosity (www.lumosity.com) has agreed to partner with ASSET to do a pilot with their highly acclaimed LEAP program. Please see link below:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110411005703/en/Lumosity-Launches-LEAP-Enhance-Children’s-Education-Accelerate
The program was developed by scientists at Stanford, Columbia, UCSF, Berkeley and Harvard. I believe access to Lumosity will bring tremendous exposure to our work.

We received a donation of 20 desktops and accessories from FirstSource in bangalore. These computers will be used in the new ASSET center in Hubli, Karnataka.

Jim Emerman, Executive Vice President, Civic Ventures has nominated me to be a speaker at the 2013 TED Conference in Long Beach, CA.

The issues that caused cancellation of classes at Prajwala, our partner in Hyderabad have been resolved and the English Helper program training will commence on May 20, 2012.

At our Delhi center, English Helper program was started in February 2012 with 20 female students, all children of sex workers. This center is managed by our partner Apne Aap. Due to some misunderstanding, mothers pulled the girls out of the English Helper classes and only three students are in attendance, We are working diligently to address the problem and get the girls back in the class.

My sincere thanks to all the donors who continue to support our work with their regular monthly contributions

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Project Leader

Ray Umashankar

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Tucson, AZ United States

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