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 Milaap.org, 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.
5. Anudip Foundation & iMerit.net- 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.
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.
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
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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