Children
 India
Project #1564

Provide computers for high-risk children in India

by ASSET India Foundation
Vetted

ASSET India Foundation participated in the Nobel Peace Prize Forum (NPPF) in Minneapolis, June 5-8 honoring Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and his work of freeing children from slavery.

in partnership with Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation (KSCF), we are actively engaged in creating child friendly villages where children are totally free from all forms of slavery including sexual slavery.

Efforts are underway to provide English and computer literacy to children in these villages.

A mobile freedom caravan will reach more than 150 villages, where nearly 100,000 people will be taught the dangers of sex trafficking and the importance of their children staying in school. Children rescued from sex trafficking travel the caravan.

Printed material explaining the biology of menstruation and proper hygeine will be distributed to girls in all these villages.

A new shelter to house 100 girls rescued from sex trafficking has just been completed in Hyderabad in partnership with Prajwala.

 

"Why are girls in rural India vulnerable to sex trafficking?"- a question from my daughter Nita, (co- Founder of ASSET India Foundation) sent me on a search, resulting in a discovery of startling facts. Girls education has become a cliche- money raised for building schools, libraries, books and computers. No one ever stopped to ask why girls are missing school ONE WEEK every month, fall behind, get ridiculed and bullied and eventually drop out of school in rural India.

The answer to Nita's question is Menstruation and the lack of availability of sanitary pads. It became clear that if I made sanitary pads available and kept the girls in school, they get educated, dream of a bright future and escape the attention of sex traffickers.
My search for a sustainable, scalable and environmentally friendly sanitary pad manufacturing operation took me far and wide. The solutions I came across did not meet any of my selection criteria.

After searching for more than a year, I finally found a passionate group of young engineers based in Mumbai who are dedicated to producing and distributing sanitary pads to keep girls in school and not drop out. Saral Designs was founded by Suhani Mohan and her friends all of whom are IIT grads.
http://www.saraldesigns.in/about-us/

My conversations. with Suhani have helped Suhani understand our need to scale and  to be able to serve girls thousand villages in partnership with the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation. She and her team have thought through the entire manufacturing and distribution processes and I am very impressed. To start with, I have proposed that the Saral Designs pads be distributed among girls in 150 villages in Assam that are reaching through our school bus Mukti Caravan anti trafficking education program.

Links:

English language instruction and computer literacy programs continue in six centers in Hyderabad, one center in Delhi, one center in Kolkata and one center in Forebesgunj. There is great interest among the girls in learning both English and computers.

As we continue to expand into villages in rural India with our English and computer literacy programs, we came acroas a major hurdle. Girls were dropping out of high schools in record numbers making it impossible for us to recruit them. As we investigated the reasons for the drop out, we discovered that the lack of availability of sanitary napkins was a major reason.

Girls used dirty rags, newspapers and due to poor hygienic conditions fell sick. The lack of toilet facilities in schools created embarassment for the girls. To address this problem we searched for a manufacturer of inexpensive sanitary pads using locally available materials. We found a very reputable social entreprenuer Swati Bedekar in the city of Vadodra making these machines as well as brick kilns to dispose off the used napkins.

we have partnered with Swati Bedekar and I will be visiting her on December 26th. Our plan is to set up one machine in each community, train the women to operate the machine and employ them. The pads will be sold to the girls by this community wnterprise to generate income to offset operating expenses.

After the successful implemwntation of the pilot project, plans will be made to install the machines in each of the 150 villages.

With Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi
With Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi

ASSET India partner Prajwala faced a major crisia when asked to vacate the current office location as retaliation for outing  rapists. Fou der Sunitha Krishnan's car was vandalized and her staff received threats in person and over the phone.

a decision was made to acquire a plot of land to construct a new shelter and office block.

ASSET India Foundation contributed $25,000 for the project and also helped set up a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdera. Through this effort, a total of $225,000 has been raised for the construction.

ASSET India donor ChandaZ is supporting the education of 100 sex trafficking victims through admission to Saint Xavier College in Kolkata.

In partnership with Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi's KSC Foundation,  Freedom Caravan bus will reach out to young women and children in 150 villages in North India. Sex trafficking survivors through music and drama will explain the dangers of falling victim to false promises made by traffickers.

Legal support has been provided to families of more than 200 girls who were trafficked from tea estates in the north eastern state of Assam.

In response to the urgent request (below) from Dr. Sunitha Krishnan- Founder of Prajwala and ASSET India Foundation partner, we have committed $25,000 toward the construction of shelters for survivors of sex trafficking. ASSET India English and computer programs will be implemented in these shelters. ASSET has also started two crowdfunding initiatives through Crowdera and Milaap.org platforms.

******************************************************

Dear Friends
We are back to square 1 and this is like a repetition of 2009. In the last few months attacks on Prajwala has increased multi-fold. There have been four physical attacks where 16 of our girls, 4 of our staff have been grievously injured.
My vehicle was next on the list, it was vandalized on 6th Feb 2015 and I am right now flooded with sexually explicit abusive emails.
All this and more I am taking it as an indicator of success but some other rippling effect is bothersome, one of them being our economic enterprise is now facing eviction. The landlord has given time till September to shift.
So it is big decision time. We have decided now to shift. We are looking at 2 acres of land in the city outskirts, which will accommodate the following:
1. Economic Rehabilitation Unit(A unit for 100 girls to learn a trade and also work)
2. Emergency Shelter(A home for 50 girls)
3. Prajwala Base Camp for Community Based Prevention Program, Rescue & Restoration Program, Rape Victim's Support Program, Anti Trafficking Resource Cell & Prevention Through Education Program
I have decided to use the corpus that we have raised in the last 5years to buy the land which is coming to around 2 crores( a little less than half million dollars), but I will require another half a million dollars to construct these three places. As of now I am in the last stages of finalizing the land.

So requesting all your emergency support to mobilize this amount. Like to request Anna & Kristen to provide any write-ups required for anybody. I have copied all of you in this mail so that you can be in touch with each other. Unfortunately I am in a unique situation seriously challenged in terms of writing etc, as the Annual Report has to be prepared and I am just drowning with external evaluations and writing the annual report.

Rest assured none of this has effected our regular work, rescues continue, missing children are tracked, rehabilitation work is at its peak with 50 girls now being trained as Security Guards.

The mission will continue no matter what and I know this too shall pass, but require your strength & support in this hour of challenge.

Dr. Sunitha Krishnan

 

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Organization Information

ASSET India Foundation

Location: Tucson, AZ - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.assetindiafoundation.org/​
Project Leader:
Ray Umashankar
Director
Tucson, AZ United States
$213,332 raised of $287,000 goal
 
 
1,583 donations
$73,668 to go
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