Project #1564

Provide computers for high-risk children in India

by ASSET India Foundation
Mar 21, 2007

Why ASSET will succeed

I returned last night from India and wish to give you a brief summary. A detailed India trip report will follow in a couple of days. I wish to highlight three specific areas: 1. Lessons learned from NGOs who tried but failed in computer literacy programs We learned that many NGOs attempted to provide computer literacy to girls rescued from trafficking and children of sex workers but failed due to the following reasons: a. Lack of focus on English language, poor understanding of industry needs in terms of specific IT skills like Document Processing, Data Entry etc. b. Children of all ages were trained without a well designed curriculum without focus on industry needs. The ASSET team devoted tremendous amount of time to the understanding the educational system, English curriculum in public schools, Industry needs and has embarked on designing a 2 year curriculum for high school juniors and seniors. The team will work with IT companies in each major city to obtain internships after year 1 and jobs after year 2. Students going into year 2 will mentor incoming freshman. 2. Why ASSET computer literacy programs will succeed a. Virtually all the NGOs working with our target population are providing alternate livelyhood skills such as sewing, bag making, embrodery that pay at most 500 rupees per month ( $12), where as from sex work the monthly earnings are as much as 6,000 + rupees a month ($150+). The newly learned skills provide no relief from poverty and the return to sex trade is high. b. In consultations with IT professionals, the ASSET team has determined that even the lowest paid IT job has a pay range of Rupees 6,000 to 8,000 a month ($150 to $175) and the ASSETstudent can replace the sex trade income with a comparable income through the ASSET program, without selling her/his body and risking HIV/AIDS. c. Development of a strong curriculum (two year) that will take care of problems of past like english, industry needs etc by a strong team from IIT Madras 3. Poverty, drug use and sex trade a. In Bangalore, Ashoka Fellow Renu Appachu, Executive Director of Jagruthi, our NGO partner told me about a 7 year old girl addicted to sniffing white-out correction fluid and performing sex on old men to support her habit. The men pay her Rupees 20 ( Less than 50 cents). b. In Kolkata, our NGO partner Apne Aap took me to the red light district Kidderpore, where I saw 12, 13 and 14 year standing by the the streets, waiting for clients. These girls have been brought into the trade by pimps who promised them entry into the movies and TV soap operas and sold to the brothels instead. c. In the tea estates outside Darjeeling, I met with laborers who fell victim to the lies of brokers/pimps who promised to get their daughters married to rich men. The pimps pad the parents Rupees 500 ($12) and sold the girls to brothels in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. d. In the town of Siliguri in North Bengal, I saw young boys and girls addicted to chewing Band-Aid, injecting liquid brown sugar in their veins and selling their bodies to support their drug habits. These young people where trafficked from neighboring Nepal, Bangla Desh, Sikkim and Bhutan. My wife, daughter Nita and I are overwhelmed by what we saw and heard. We are motivated more than ever before, convinced that ASSET is on the right track and will work to make a difference, no matter what the obstacles are.

Ray Umashankar Executive Director ASSET India Foundation

  • Aiyaswamy
    Aiyaswamy Reports like this help its supporters understand what ASSET is aiming to accomplish and what it's trying to eradicate. This report gives its readers vivid images of what young girls are going through and what they're forced to do just to survive. With this report, it makes me want to continue to support ASSET, and I... Read more »
    • 10 years ago
    •  · 
  • SK8Fish
    SK8Fish I appreciate the sobering stories and am further convinced about the importance and urgency of ASSET and other organizations' work. Thank you for the update and for sharing the ways you can be more effective in this space.
    • 10 years ago
    •  · 
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Organization Information

ASSET India Foundation

Location: Tucson, AZ - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Ray Umashankar
Tucson, AZ United States
$213,512 raised of $287,000 goal
1,590 donations
$73,488 to go
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