Raised: 80%
 

Target: £146,101.00
Raised so far: £116,351.00

Project run by

ASSET India Foundation, Tucson, United Stateshttp://www.assetindiafoundation.org/

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Provide computers for high-risk children in India

We teach children of women trafficked for sex computer skills through our institutes and find them jobs through partner organizations to prevent them from also being trafficked and contracting AIDS.

What is the problem the project is addressing?

The sex workers are desperate for educational opportunities and a chance for better life for their children. They do not want their children to know about the flesh trade and also wish to minimize the risk of their contracting HIV/AIDS. Established computer institutes will not admit these children because of their birth status and certificate. The pilot project will be in Chennai, India and will expand to Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi.

How will this project solve the problem?

ASSET will operate computer institutes with Internet access with equipment and software donated by corporate donors. Computer-Based Literacy programs will be offered in regional languages.

What is the potential long-term impact of this project?

It will initially serve 20 children growing to 40. With the Mobile Computer Classroom, we will serve 200 children. It will create excitement among children living in the slums and provide skills for gainful employment.

Oct 30 2017

India visit report

Ray Umashankar

Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi (ASSET India Foundation partner) had organized the largest march called. Bharat Yatra

(https://bharatyatra.online)

all across India to increase awareness about the plight of trafficked children and sexual violence against them.

On the evening of Wednesday October 11, Guinnes Book of World records issued a certificate to the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation for organizing the largest child xafeguarding lesson at the DAV Centenary Public School in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

I participated in the march in Jaipur on October 12th along with 300 rescued children.

The closing ceremony of the march was held at the official residence of the President of India on Monday October 16th.

Manisha, trafficked at 10 and rescued by Sunitha Krishnan of Prajwala (ASSET India partner) was seated next to President of India Mr. Ram Nath Kovind and Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi. Manisha shared her terrible story of sexual violence and her commitment to help others trafficking victims. President Kovind thanked Mr. kailash Satyarthi on behalf of the entire country.

Bharat Yatra facts:


35 Days, 11,000 km, 800,000 marchers


Number of pledges: 1,400,000


Print media outreach: 530,000,000


Online imprints:1,000,000,000

ASSET India Foundation had funded the construction of a metal roof over a large class room at a shelter for sex trafficking survivors

in Bangalore, India. Sujata daughter of a sex worker is a mentor and math teacher at this shelter. Sujata completed her engineering degree with full support from ASSET India Foundation.

 

Aug 01 2017

Keeping children of sex workers in School

Ray Umashankar

In rural India, girls drop out of school after missing one week of school a month for several months due to problems related to menstruation. Menstuation biology is not taught in schools and more importantly saniatry pads are not available to them. They use newspapers, dirty rags and get sick. Once they are out of school once a week in a month, they fall behind and never catch up. Unsympathetic teachers and lack of support force the girls to drop out. They then become primary targets for traffickers.

ASSET India has decided to tackle this problem in partnership with Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation in their Child Friendly Villages. We have souugh the assistance of Suhani Mohan, an engineer/inventor and founder of Saral Designs. Our intial plan is to distribute low cost sanitary napkins and subsequently establish production units operated by local communities.

in northern Karnataka, ASSET has initiated a program to set up local manufacturing of sanitary pads for distribution among children of ex-sex workers. We have had great success providing interest free loans to ex sex workers for starting income generating business on condition that their daughters and grand daughters continue in school and not enter the sex trade.

in partnership with Prajwala, ASSET Provided computers, uninterrupted power supplies and other teaching materials in middle schools in West Godavari district middle schools attended primarily by children of sex workers. The project has received commendation from the government.

Apr 19 2017

Computers donated to middle schools

Ray Umashankar

In cooperation with our partner Dr. sunitha Krishnan, ASSET India provide computers, overhead projectors and other related euipment to tow elementary and middle schools attended by girls who are highly vulnerable to sex trafficking.

the project has been completed successfully and below is the letter from the District Collector Ms. Damayanthi:

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

I am Damayanthi, Dr Sunitha Krishnan's friend and beneficiary of your donation of computers to Vanguru and Lakshmipuram village schools in Pedavegi mandal of West Godavari District.
I am extremely grateful to you for donating the entire computer equipment including the projectors required for conduct of digital classrooms in Vanguru and Lakshmipuram Govt schools.
These systems are helping the students to understand the concepts and learn better.
We are planning to conduct summer camps with the help of our staff to ensure learning outcomes of these students are as expected..
It would be pleasure for us to have you in the village so that you could interact with the students.
I am currently posted in Delhi as Executive Director of FCI.
In case you happen to come to Delhi, kindly let me know. we could meet .
I, once again, thank you profusely for your kindness in donating the systems to our village students.
with a note of thanks and warm regards,
yours sincerely,
K.Damayanthi

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

our partner Prajwala operates a printing facility managed by sex trafficking survivors. ASSET India placed an order for 50,000 notebooks which will be distributed among 10,000 under privileged school children. Each of the 10,000 kits contain 5 notebooks, pencils and erasers.

Jan 04 2017

The Amazing indomitable Sunitha Krishnan

Ray Umashankar


Last week in Hyderabad, I was thrilled to meet Puja whose story (below) I have shared with you.
Here is the story of Puja, who benefited from your past generous donations:

**********
Puja at age 9 sat outside in the cold when her mother had a client inside the hut in the slums of Hyderabad. I was horrified when she said she had to hide under the bed on rainy nights!. When her mother died, Puja's uncle sold her to a wealthy doctor who raped her daily. She escaped and fell into the hands of a trafficker. Puja was finally rescued by our partner Sunitha Krishnan of Prajwala, who has rescued nearly 15,000 victims. (http://www.ted.com/talks/sunitha_krishnan_tedindia#t-3817)

When I met eighteen year old Puja, she told me ASSET India Foundation's English and computer training makes her equal to everyone else out there and she had just spoken in front of 150 delegates at a social work conference. When I asked her what kind of job I should get for her, she replied "I don't want a job, I want to do my MBA"!
I wept.

Puja has since finished college but did not do well in the MBA entrance exam but finished her MSW degree. Now she works with Sunitha Krishnan helping girls like herself.

Sunitha runs the largest shelter for trafficking survivors in the country, feeding and clothing more than 1,400 girls. The youngest one I met was 6 years old and it took therapists 18 months to help get her speech back!

We are presently setting up digital classrooms in five elementary schools

Oct 07 2016

Campus and Emergency shelter in Hyderabad

Ray Umashankar

Prajwala in Hyderabad is ASSET India Foundation's partner organization, providing education and computer literacy to girls rescued from sex trafficking and children of sex workers.

Under the leadership of Dr. Sunitha, a new campus including emergency shelter, training rooms, class rooms, computer room was just completed. ASSET India Foundation contributed $45,000 towards the construction and helped raise an additional $200,000 through a crowdfunding campaign.

Honorable U.S Ambassador to India visited the campus last week and offered his support to increase awareness about global sex trafficking.

Dr. Sunitha will be visiting the U.S later this month to participate in the Global Women conference in California. 

Sujata , daughter of a sex worker has been supported by ASSET India Foundation in her engineering education in Mysore India. In addition to paying her college tuition, ASSET is also supporting her living expenses.

Jun 28 2016

Participating in the Nobel Peace Prize Forum 2016

Ray Umashankar

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.

 

Mar 17 2016

Preventing girls from getting trafficked

Ray Umashankar

 

"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.

 

Dec 21 2015

Keeping girls in rural India in schools for computer literacy

Ray Umashankar

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.

Sep 16 2015

Emergency shelter for100 sex trafficking Survivors

Ray Umashankar

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.

 

Jun 15 2015

ASSET India partner Prajwala back to Square One!

Ray Umashankar

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

Mar 09 2015

Partnering with Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi

Ray Umashankar

1. ASSET Idia's parnership with Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi's organization BBA-Save the Children began last year   with the rescue, rehabilitation and rescue of 200 girls trafficked from the tea estates in Assam.

2. The trafficked girls are lured by brokers with the promise of well paying jobs in Delhi and other cities.

3. The girls are then sold as domestic help by the brokers for a huge fee and many girls subsequently end up in brothels.

4.BBA has been intrumental in getting the courts to issue injunctions against these brokers.

The problem of sex trafficking is rampant in India today and the problems to be addressed are numerous. In this partnership, ASSET India Foundation and Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) will address the problem by a holistic and sustainable approach.

Prevention and Community Participation: This will be a two fold program involving Child Friendly Villages (CFVs) and campaigning against the evils of sex trafficking through Mukti Caravan. 20 CFVs will be set up in the state of Assam and Mukti Caravan will be run in around 400 villages over two years. The campaigning will take place in key areas of Assam (Source Area), Alwar (Source Area), Silligudi (Transit Route) and New Delhi (Destination Point).

Protection and Prosecution: The raid and rescue of girls working in sex work will take place in three key areas of Assam, Silligudi and New Delhi. During this partnership, 50 girls/year will be rescued. Additionally, 100 girls/year will be provided with legal aid.

Policy and Partnership: This partnership will help influence the gaps in policy regarding sex work in India through better understanding of the needs in the sector as the levels of intervention take place.

Research: The research that will take place will look at three aspects- Dimensions of Sex Trafficking in India- This will take New Delhi to be a test case in India and look at the process of trafficking and the economics that relate to it. Status of Sex Trafficking- Through Right to Information reports and other secondary resources, the status of sex trafficking will be recorded.

Analysis of factors affecting trafficking of girls and women from vulnerable districts of Assam- Fieldwork based assessment of factors influencing the process of trafficking of vulnerable girls and women.

Dec 04 2014

ASSET India Partner wins Nobel Peace Prize!

Ray Umashankar

Kailash Satyarthi, Founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize which will be awarded to him in a ceremony in Stockholm later this month. 

BBA and ASSET India Foundation are actively engaged in the rescue, rehabilitation and care of 200 girls trafficked from the tea estates in Assam in north east India.

Chicag based New Generation Power, (www.newgenerationpower.com) has agreed help ASSET in providing solar lighting to villages and schools where children of sex workers and girls vulnerable to sex trafficking live. Solar lighting will help these girls study in the evenings and encourage them to stay in school.

Efforts are underway to provide additional marketable skills to 20 girls on a pilot project in Kolkata in partnership with the Skills Training Institute.

 

Sep 10 2014

Trafficking of girls from rural areas

Ray Umashankar

In order to preven the trafficking of minor girls from the tea estates in north eastern India, ASSET partner Save the Children has been active in supporting the Govt. of India 's proposed a new and much upgraded Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 in India and has already introduced the same in Parliament. All our suggestions in the same have also been accepted.

The Bill would be a major step in the fight against trafficking as it outlaws and prohibits various kinds of trafficking and exploitative situations for which children are being trafficked. These include provisions on :

1. Child marriage - by including a child vulnerable to being married as a child in need of care and protection.

2. Detailing adoption processes and prohibiting illegal adoptions with strict penalties.

3. Prohibiting the operation of Children's homes running without mandatory Govt. registration and licences. As you might be aware, child trafficking for illegal homes (from where children are sent or put in various kinds of exploitative situations) is a big issue currently in India.

4. Increasing punishment for employing a child bonded labourer and making it a non bailable offence.

5. Including a specific provision prohibiting the use of children in armed conflict or organised gangs.

6. Prohibiting the use of any child in vending or peddling or liquor or any other narcotic substance.

When passed (possibly in Dec., 2014), this Bill is expected to fill in the existing gaps in the policy domain and give a lot of impetus to the fight against trafficking in India.

Attched documents provide good news about progress with ethe education of children of ex Devadasis.

Jun 19 2014

Trafficking of girls from Assam tea estates

Ray Umashankar

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:
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/video/2014/mar/01/tetley-tea-maids-real-price-cup-tea-video


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
ww.assetindiafoundation.org
Tucson, Arizona
520-869-2004

 

 

Feb 14 2014

Visiting partners in India Jan-Feb 2014

Ray Umashankar

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 Madebysurvivors.com 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 (www.anudip.org) to provide training and  manage our center in Forbesgunj, Bihar.

Nov 20 2013

Microfinance loans to devadasis (sex workers)

Ray Umashankar

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 (www.madebysurvivors.com) and Rescue Foundation (www.rescuefoundation.org) 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

Ray Umashankar

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. 

5Anudip 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.

Apr 24 2013

Educating the children of Devadasis

Ray Umashankar

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

Ray Umashankar

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


Oct 11 2012

Forbesgunj center progress report

Ray Umashankar

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.

Jul 10 2012

India Trip Progress report

Ray Umashankar

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. 
 
 

 


Jul 02 2012

India Trip Progress report

Ray Umashankar

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. 
 
 

 


Apr 06 2012

Good news and some not so good news

Ray Umashankar

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

Jan 09 2012

Progress Report

Ray Umashankar

A Very happy New Year to all the ASSET donors and supporters.

Based on the very positive results from the English Helper Pilot project, ASSET India Foundation has entered into an agreement with English Helper (http://englishhelper.com/about_eh.htm) to provide the various modules that will benefit nearly 5,000 girls rescued from sex trafficking at the various centeres in Hyderabad. Similar agreement has been put in place for ASSET students in Kolkata and Delhi as well. 

In Mumbai, ASSET will be working in partnership with Kranti ( http://www.kranti-india.org/aboutus ) and Project Crayons which run shelters for children of sex workers. Kranti will be evaluating Akash, a low cost tablet PC as a desktop replacement.

The Forbesgunj BPO project is off to a frustratingly slow start, even though all the important players are on board. The community center in Fotrbesgunj where the BPO will be located is run by our partner Apne Aap. In Forbesgunj, which is on the India-Nepal border, the only income generating opportunity for women is prostitution. The ASSET/Apne Aap BPO is a unique effort to make a difference.

http://apneaap.org/policy-work/our-resources/manuals/sex-trafficking-and-exploitation-short-film-apne-aap-and-equality-

 

 

Sep 09 2011

Arunodaya Placement, Sunitha Krishnan after TED

Ray Umashankar

ASSET partner Arunodaya was able to place 100% of the students in jobs after their completion of the training. Please see attached placement report.

It has been a year since ASSET partnerand Prajwala founder Dr. Sunitha Krishnan was on TED. Here is an update from her, a year later: http://www.inktalks.com/talks/sunitha

Also ASSET introduced SMILE Foundation to American India Foundation to take advantage of MAST (Market Aligned Skills Training) program, AIF is training unemployed youth with a 10th-grade education for employment in high growth sectors, matching the demands of local area economies. MAST's goal is to train 1,00,000 youth across India by 2012. Over 61,000 youth have been trained by now with an average job placement rate of 72%.  Corporations like Big Bazaar, Westside, Cafe Coffee Day, HDFC Bank Ltd., ICICI Bank Ltd. and numerous call centres and hospitals have recruited MAST graduates. It is our intent to offer MAST training in addition to computer training.

No progress to report on the establishment of a BPO center in Forbesgunj, Bihar where sex trade is the only gainful employment option for girls.

Jun 08 2011

Training ASSET students to be nurses

Ray Umashankar

We are in the process of setting up a pilot project in the state of Orissa to train a small group of children of sex workers/girls rescued from trafficking to enter a two year Nursing program

The pilot is being set up as follows:

 
1. ASSET is working with local NGOs/Government HIV/AIDS agencies to identify five girls from our target population 
2. The five girls will already be attending a municipal school and in the high school age group.
3. These five girls should be willing to finish the schooling to qualify for the nurses training.
4. ASSET will provided the necessary support for having the five girls finish their schooling and help them join Kalinga Nursing college in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa.

5. Once this pilot is underway, plans will be made to replicate it in other cities.

New Partnership

ASSET India Foundation has entered into a partnership with the Tamil Nadu Foundation (TNF) to use their computer facilities and teachers to train ASSET students in Chennai. In May 2010.Tamil Nadu Foundation recognized  Dr. Nita Umashankar as a professional under forty making the most significant social impact in Tamil Nadu.  The partnership with TNF is in place of ICWO with whom we had to cancel the partnership agreement due to lack of compliance.

India recently passed the Right to Education into law and the link below has been submitted by ASSET's NGO partner SMILE Foundation:

 

 

 

Mar 02 2011

New partners and centers

Ray Umashankar

Greetings!

We are in the final stages of our evaluation of a new partner organization in Chennai. They have a number of projects and one of them is HIV/AIDS intervention working with HIV-infected women and sex workers. They work primarily with the mothers and support their children monetarily. These children are in the younger age group. What we have done is identify their siblings that fall in our target group. They live in central Chennai and attend school in the surrounding areas. Our program would be a new project for them in terms of teaching and working with our target age group.
 
This is their website - http://www.tcds.in/

One major advantage is the proximity of the training center to the high-tech and automotive manufacturing corridor for job placement and getting volunteers.

Similarly, in Delhi we have completed the evaluation of the site for a new partner (Apne Aap) based on our successful partnership in Kolkata. Also the management of our website will be done by the staff and students of a non-profit organization based in Kolkata that serves children of sex workers.

The partner changes have been necessitated by the lack of adherence to our guidelines and policies by the current partners.

Also ASSET India Foundation has been selected to participate in the YouTube Nonprofit program and is listed as a SUPERSTAR on GlobalGiving!  This is the highest level that an organization can reach on GlobalGiving!

Dec 02 2010

ASSET partner Dr. Sunitha Krishnan//Donor visits ASSET-Mumbai

Ray Umashankar

Greetings!

ASSET India Foundations partner in Hyderabad is Prajwala, founded by Dr. Sunitha Krishnan. She has rescued more than 5,000 girls from sex trafficking. Her talk (link below) is touching and inspiring. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE1Ia8yG50A

Also, Mary Ellen Pitruszynski, Executive Director of Sooch Foundation, one of ASSET's major donors visited the ASSET center in Mumbai. Below is her note.

************************************
From: Mary Ellen Pietruszynski <mpetro@sooch.net>
Date: November 26, 2010 6:33:49 PM PST
To: Ray Umashankar <rayu42@gmail.com>
Subject: Visit to ASSET in Dharavi


Hi Ray:

    Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you are doing well. I have copied you on several emails I have sent tonight as a follow up to my trip to India and specifically in Mumbai.  We had a wonderful visit and as you can see from the tone of my correspondence we were very impressed with the quality of work being done by both SMILE and Prayog (not to mention Innovaid, as well).  Particularly, though I am continually impressed with your ability to seek out organizations  in India who collaborate with you to deliver a high quality service to the people who need it.  I want you to know that Jasdeep and I were both so impressed with the project in Dharavi and ultimately with your ability to get that work done from your remote location in the US.  I will be reporting this to our board and although they will have many questions I hope that we will be able to continue to support ASSET and particularly the work we witnessed in Mumbai.

    In addition, I would like to ask if you may be able to consult with our friends at The Miracle Foundation.  I know you have met Caroline Boudreaux, their founder.  The COO, Elizabeth Davis is continually more involved in the workings on the ground in India.  As you know this can be complicated. I know Elizabeth could benefit from conversations with you regarding your experience, successes and issues you have had to deal with in the process of growing ASSET.  Please let me know if it would be okay for me to put Elizabeth in contact with you.  And please let me thank you for the great work you are doing, Ray.  I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to witness it!

Very truly,
ME

Sep 01 2010

Using Microfinance for student fees

Ray Umashankar

I am pleased to report the ASSET center in Mumbai again has achieved 100 % placement for the students in the last batch. This center is located in the heart of the red light district in Mumbai.

Mary Ellen Pietruszynski, Executive Director of Sooch Foundation- a major ASSET donor- will be visiting the ASSET Mumbai center in November 2010. As we continue to grow, our biggest challenge is to build on the success and make the ASSET project viable over a long period of time.

For the long term sustainability, I am exploring the use of microfinance for student fees. In this model, students will take micro loans to cover the tuition cost and repay within 6 - 12 months after being placed in a job. ASSET India Foundation will be the guarantor for the loans. Average student loan will be $ 100 to $120 ( Indian Rupees 4500- 5,000). This will include annual maintenance for the computers but not the replacement costs. Computers will be replaced by ASSET as and when needed. Here are some preliminary ideas: 1. Each center will train a minimum of 100 students per center Maximum 120 students per year in 3 batches 2. Annual budget per center is $9,000, including annual maintenance of computers and student transportation 3. ASSET is in the process of identifying reputable microfinance organizations in each city where ASSET has centers. 4. Each center should produce the photo and short bio of each that ASSET will post on its website. 6. Donors can donate to the ASSET Microfinance fund pool and request that the money be use fpr particular student (s) 7. . Computer costs not included in loan amount. SMILE and ASSET will identify seperate funds for computer replacement.

8. ASSET has retained the services of INNOVAID (www.innovaid.in) to assist in establishing the microfinance.

ASSET/INNOVAID plan to set up a pilot program at the ASSET Mumbai center by January 1, 2011.

I would greattly appreciate your thoughts, comments regarding this plan.

Thank you

Jun 09 2010

$20,000 Grant from Dell

Ray Umashankar

ASSET received a grant of $20,000 from Dell. The money is being used for additional computers for our center in Hyderabad. Our partner organization Prajwala has rescued nearly 5,000 girls from sex trafficking. These additional computers will help train more girls in several locations.

May 03 2010

Interviews of ASSET students=Mumbai

Ray Umashankar

This video contains the interviews of children of sex workers attending the ASSET training program in Mumbai. Nearly all of the students who have completed the training are employed contributing to their family. Many students from the U.S. Have visited the ASSET center in Mumbai and have interacted with them.

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dwph6svsGPzU&h=75590

This center is located in a dilapidated municipal school building in the heart of the red light district.

The photo below shows Somu Nepali, who successfully completed the ASSET program and now has a job . Here she is addressing girls rescued from trafficking and children of sex workers, urging them to stay in school, finish the ASSET training.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=4462174&o=all&op=1&view=all&subj=357122095006&aid=-1&id=679411985

Dell’s VP & Chief Marketing Officer Erin Nelson will be a key note speaker and 5 Dell women VPs will be speaking and participating at the upcoming Global Women’s Summit http://www.globewomen.org/summit/Summit.htm, being held in Beijing May 20-22. ASSET graduate Somu Nepali's will be one of 3 featured stories about individual girls who have been impacted by Dell YouthConnect funded programs. The emphasis is on how education makes the difference as the great equalizer – with education, we all have a chance.

Mar 08 2010

ASSET top project chosen by Ericsson to showcase at Tech conference

Ray Umashankar

ASSET India Foundation's project has been selected as the top project by Swedish Telecomm giant Ericsson who will be promoting it as part of their Technology for Good giving campaign! Only six were chosen out of 1340 projects from 100 countries. Ericsson will be showcasing this page http://www.facebook.com/l/7008b;www.globalgiving.org/technology-for-good/ at a technology conference at the end of March and will be giving out GlobalGIving gift certificates to conference participants to support these projects ASSET India provides hope and successfully eliminates poverty though education and job placement to girls rescued from trafficking and children of sex workers in India. Girls who have completed the ASSET training now work in banks, insurance and software companies. More and more corporations world-wide are letting fans on Face Book decide who should get their donations, your support on Face Book is very important. By having thousands of fans, ASSET will be in a position to compete for the $ 1million dollars prize in 2011 and help more than 5,000 + victims of trafficking. Simple steps for your family and friends to "Join" ASSET on Face Book: After logging into face book, they can open on one of the two links below and "Join" to become ASSET fans: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=info&ref=ts&gid=357122095006 http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=188234189796&ref=ts FAMILY and FRIENDS DON"T HAVE TO DONATE MONEY Thank you Ray Umashankar ASSET India Foundation rayu42@gmail.comject:

Jan 21 2010

JP Morgan/Chase Giving $ 1 Million Facebook Competition

Ray Umashankar

ASSET India Foundation has made the top 100 among hundreds of thousands of charities and is now competing for the top prize of $ 1 Million. The contest is organized by J.P Morgan/Chase Giving and people around the globe can vote for ASSET India Foundation only on Facebook.

We won Round I and and received $25,000. Round II of the voting contest starts at:

Midnight (EST) Friday, January 15th

and ends at:

Midnight (EST) on Friday, January 22nd.

ASSET will get the prize of $ 1 million by receiving the highest number of votes on Facebook with your help.

In this contest we are only seeking votes and not donations.

We have identified more than 5,000 girls who are children of sex workers and or rescued from trafficking (many of whom are HIV positive) and only 300 of them are presently able to participate in the ASSET program due to limitation of space and resources.

With the $ 1 million Prize, ASSET will expand its program to serve all the 5,000 + girls and set up centers in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. We are working closely with the Clinton Foundation.

Documentary film producer Pat Loewi produced this video of students at the ASSET center Delhi. You can use this for the campaign to get votes in the facebook competition

Here is the link::

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCw_KvOpBiM

The voting link is: http://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/charities/717045

Our target is 100,000 votes and you can help us reach the goal. I am writing to request you to share the contest information and the voting link with all your global contacts, friends and family and urge them to vote now.

Thanks so much for your help

Ray Umashankar 2008 Purpose Prize Winner Executive Director ASSET India Foundation www.assetindiafoundation.org 520-869-2004 (cell)

rayu42@gmail.com

Dec 08 2009

Famous Author Supports ASSET

Ray Umashankar

Greetings! Chetan Bhagat is the author of three blockbuster novels, all of which have remained bestsellers since their release and have inspired major Bollywood films. The New York Times called Chetan the ‘the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history.’ Seen more as a youth icon than just an author, this IIT D/ IIMA graduate is making India read like never before. Chetan supports ASSET and has voted for it in the JP Morgan/Chase Giving contest. Below is his blog titled "3 clicks to change lives" asking all his fans to vote for ASSET India Foundation.

http://www.chetanbhagat.com/blog/general/3-clicks-to-change-lives The direct voting link on facebook is: http://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/charities/717045

The voting deadline is Dec 11, 2009. Our target is 5,000 votes.. The prizes are: Phase I..... $25,000 Phase II.....$100,000 Phase III....$ 1 Million I need your help. Please forward the following to everyone on your e-mail address book and you will be making a big difference in the lives deserving children.

Dec 07 2009

A Postcard from

Pat Loewi

Dear Ray, Vinita, Kiran, and Shayaan, What a pleasure it was to visit your compelling ASSET Program. I so enjoyed interviewing the students, parents, teachers and administrative staff. This program, housed in two small rooms in a low-income neighborhood of Dehli is focused on computer education, English language and Life Skills. The students and parents all felt that their self-confidence has soared since being part of the program. The current job placement rate is 65% but the goal is 90% in the next three years. The students were well-spoken, totally engaged in their learning and this is one of those outstanding programs where everyone seems to be on the same page. Vinita, Kiran, and Shayaan, I was impressed with your understanding of these youth and their many challenges. You truly seems to be changing lives at the ASSET center and, hopefully, my Podcast will be distributed far and wide and help support the continuation of this vitally important program. Thanks for the beautiful flowers and your gracious hospitality. Warmly, Pat Loewi

When asked what he would tell his friends about this project, Pat said: "Incredible: You need to see this!"

Nov 23 2009

ASSET Center- Mumbai

Ray Umashankar

Greetings!

The ASSET center in Mumbai was opened earlier this year. The center is located in a dilapidated government school building- in the heart of Kamathipura- Mumbai's red light district! Businesses all around the school including stalls selling everything from cigarettes, vegetables, magazines to phone shops with copiers are controlled by the same people that control the sex trade.

For some unknown reason, the ASSET center and the students that come for the training are left alone.

The results from this center are most gratifying. Students have been placed in jobs that pay well enough to keep the students to stay out of the sex trade. Photos of the students and placement data are in the attachment.

We are in negotiations with three companies that have Rural BPOs in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Our aim is to include the skill requirements of these companies in training so that placement after completion of the training will be easy.

Pat Loewi, an ASSET supporter was in Delhi recently and she has created a documentary which contains interviews with students and parents at the ASSET center in Delhi. The link will be posted here as well as the ASSET India Foundation website shortly.

I highly recommend the book "Half the Sky" by NY Times reporters Nicholas Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn. One of the issues the authors describe is the terrible plight of girls sold into prostitution in India.

Note from Sheryl Wudunn:

From: Sheryl WuDunn Date: Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 10:15 PM <rayu42@gmail.com>

Ray:

Keep up the great work. ASSET is working in an area that needs so much help, so I"m very gratified to hear about what you do. Your daughter must be a remarkable woman. My hearty congratulations to you and to her for all the work that ASSET does. best, Sheryl ********************** Challenges we are addressing:

1. Partner organizations do not address hardware problems in a timely fashion.

2. Every time a PC breaks down, a new replacement PC is expected.

3. Since ASSET requires that each batch consist of 20 students, slum children that don not meet ASSET guidelines are recruited.

4. In order to financially sustain the ASSET project over the long run, I would like to have the students take out microfinance loans to pay their tuition of Rs. 2,500 ( < $60). The plan is to have them repay the loan within 6 months of getting employment. All the students we have placed in jobs so far earn between Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 4,000. In India when something is given for free, people doubt its value. Since this is a non-traditional Microfinance application, I have not been successful so far in a tie-up with a microfinance lender.

Ray Umashankar

Sep 01 2009

ASSET Partnership with MILLEE-Carnegie Mellon University

Ray Umashankar

I am very pleased to announce a partnership with the MILLEE project directed by Professor Matt Kam of Carnegie Mellon University. I serve as adviser to the MILLEE project.

MILLEE stands for : Mobile and Immersion Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies.

It is centered on Cellphone applications that enable children in the developing world to acquire language literacy game-like environments. MILLEE aims to make localized language learning resources more accessible to underprivileged children, at times and places that are more convenient than schools. The design methodology is based on best practices in commercial language learning packages and the traditional village games that children in the developing world play.

MILLEE has received major technology and financial support from Nokia and the project is being implemented in schools run by the Byrraju Foundation in Andhra Pradesh.

MILLEE will be implemented on a pilot basis at ASSET India Foundation's newest location in Hyderabad "Arunodhaya" which serves more than 100 children of sex workers and HIV infected parents.

May 15 2009

Major support from Dell

Ray Umashankar

I am delighted to inform you that Dell Foundation awarded another $20,000 grant to ASSET India Foundation- $10,000 for PCs for the center in Bangalore and $10,000 for instructors salary support.

In addition Dell India staff members will actively volunteer and provide support in the following areas at each of the ASSET centers:

1.Recruitment of students 2. Selection process of students 3.Admissions of students 4. Recruitment of teachers 5. Orientation to teachers 6. Orientation to students 7. Initiation of classes/ Batch inauguration 9. Industry visits 10. Workshops and classes by visiting faculty 11. Monthly/mid terms/ end term evaluation 12.Arrangement of career counseling to students 14.initiation of placement contacts 15.Conduction of pre-placement activities 16Conducting of final tests. 16.Placement week 17.Preparing placement reports 18. End term reporting with case studies and press coverage 19.Post placement follow up and mobilization of second batch 20.Certificate ans award distribution ceremony

Also, Mr. Hersh Goel, an Honors Pre-med student at the University of Arizona will be working as a summer intern at ASSET-Delhi. In addition, Ms.Ruchika Agrawal will be submitting her application for a fulbright fellowship focusing on issues relating to trafficking and ASSET's role in the rehabilitation of trafficking victims.

Feb 18 2009

ASSET Progress Report

Ray Umashankar

1. All the seven existing ASSET centers have been brought under the management of SMILE Foundation(http://www.smilefoundationindia.org/e_learning.htm) which has an all India presence. SMILE's regional offices will be involved in the recruitment and retention of students as well as the monitoring the performance of teachers and program coordinators. 2. An ASSET center has been opened in Mumbai, in the heart of the Kamathipura red light district in partnership with Prayog and managed by SMILE. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been requested to provide volunteers to meet with students on a regular basis.

3. Students from ASSET/SMILE centers have been placed with Nokia, Cafe Coffee Day, Fun Cinema and HDFC Bank.

4. ASSET just received a $20,000 grant from Dell Foundation for additional computers and teacher salaries. The Purpose Prize award of $10,000 as well as the SHG Foundation grant of $10,000 were received in December 2008. Won the Globalgiving contest first prize of $10,000 by raising the largest amount in a 4 week period

5. At the request of one of our major donors, I have been investigating entrepreneurship models similar to the ones implemented successfully by Grameen in Bangla Desh. I have done due diligence on many of them but none of them was a good fit until I found one successfully implemented by Hand in Hand, a very reputable NGO in Tamil Nadu. (http://www.hihseed.org/). They are a large Microfinance organization and have set in operation 1,400 computer Citizen center kiosks in rural Tamil Nadu.

ASSET adviser Kunal Garg will be meeting with the director of the HiH Citizen center program in order to conduct a focus group among ASSET trained girls and their mothers working in teams.

1. HiH will provide full training, hardware, e-learning tools and all access to various services

2. ASSET will explore providing loans of Rs.30,000 (~ $600) at 18% interest to each mother/daughter team to start these kiosks

3.The monthly income ranges from Rs.1,000 ($20) to Rs.10,000 ($200) depending on location and services offered.

4. The Rs.10,000 per month locations offer banking, passport, photoshop and numerous other services.

Why HiH model may be a good fit for ASSET:

1. Girls trained by ASSET who cannot take up employment for any reason can use their computer skills and work at home with their mothers.

2. HIH is very interested in partnering with ASSET to assist the mother/daughter teams.

3. HIH will bring the best practices to the ASSET partnership

4. The Rs.10,000 per month income is above what sex workers earn in a month and will be a strong deterrent for the mother to get out of the flesh trade and keep the daughter out as well.

5. ASSET will consider starting a pilot project with two or three centers.

Funding

1. For the pilot projects, ASSET India Foundation will consider providing the funds for the loans.

2. Global Giving Foundation is trying out a new fundraising platform developed by give2gether.com and wants to do a pilot for the ASSET computer kiosk project for a $50,000 fundraising campaign. Global Giving will pay give2gether and will not cost ASSET anything. The money raised will be used for microfinance loans through HiH for ASSET girls and their mothers.

Project MILLEE – Mobile and Immersion Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies

I serve as an adviser to the MILLEE project which uses mobile phone game technology for teaching English to students in rural India. ASSET is involved because of the challenges in finding good English teachers and keeping them.

ASSET would like to provide inexpensive mobile phones to its students so that they can continue to learn and practice English usimg the MILLEE technology. ASSET's request for 30 used laptops has been approved by Infosys.

Dr. Matt Kam, my colleague at Carnegie Mellon and Project leaders will use the 30 laptops for MILLEE field work in India in the summer of 2009.

Dec 10 2008

Ray Umashankar awarded 2009 Purpose Prize

Dr. Sue Umashankar

I am pleased to report that Ray Umashankar, Executive Director of ASSET India Foundation was awarded the 2008 Civic Ventures Purpose Prize for Social Entrepreneurs over the age of 60. The cash award of $10,000 will be donated to the ASSET India Foundation for hiring additional English language and computer teachers for the centers in India.

Since the Prize money will not arrive before the Global Giving fundraising challenge ends (Dec 15, 2008), Ray is working hard to meet the goal. He will be leaving for India on December 17th on ASSET work and return on the 31st.

Two newspaper articles about the award are attached:

1. “UA Prof Wins $10K Prize for Positive World Impact,” by Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star

2.“UA Dean Helps Kids Break Away From India’s Sex Trade: Ray Umashankar awarded national prize for his work,” by Renee Schafer Horton, Tucson Citizen

Jul 30 2008

July 2008 Progress report

Ray Umashankar

1. Based on the recommendation of ASSET-Chennai advisory board, ASSET will be advertising for a full time administrator to manage the India operations. Ideally the administrator will be a senior level retired executive with a serious interest in social issues.

2. At ASSET-Chennai more than 20 students who completed the training opted to pursue higher education rather than accept a job immediately.

3. There is strong evidence to show that the ASSET training has helped all the students in their confidence, overall academic performance and desire to work hard towrds a better future.

4. The demand to join ASSET classes is much more than the capacity we have. It is clear that both the students as well as their parents are seeing the potential benefits.

5. STRiVE (www.striveindia.org) which has successfully trained and placed students in several verticals has agreed to partner with ASSET and provide the necessary training for the retail management vertical.

6. ASSET is working a recruitment plan and also a student fee payback plan.

7. ASSET obtained used computers from IBM-Bangalore for AWWA( Affus Woman Welfare Association) in Hubli, Karnataka. In addition ASSET is helping AWWA with the computer literacy curriculum.

8. ASSET introduced its NGO partners in Bangalore to the NASSCOM Foundation to facilitate hardware and software donations.

9. ASSET is assisting www.savethechildrenindia.net with hardware and software donations as well as curriculum. Save the Children works with girls rescued from trafficking in Mumbai.

Apr 11 2008

ASSET Progress Report March 2008

Ray Umashankar

ASSET REPORT March 2008 1.ASSET has partnered with BeyondCore.com for ASSET students to be trained in BeyondCore’s Software as a Service (SaaS) solution.

2.SaaS automatically measures business process error rates and identifies the root causes of errors. Rooted in the Toyota Production System and Six Sigma, BeyondCore's solution can be deployed in days, pays for itself in weeks, and requires just 30 minutes of training.

3.BeyondCore improves the quality of outsourced and in-house back-office business processes like applications / claims processing, General Ledger, coding and billing in the Financial Services, Healthcare and other industries.

4.As the Indian IT industry gets ready for the next big wave in e-publishing and healthcare tourism, ASSET students will be ahead with their IT skills supplemented by BeyondCore’s TCE reduction solution.

5. One of ASSET's major donors wishes to fund technology based social businesses for ASSET and then introduce microcredit for business development. ASSET has been introduced to Grameen Founder and Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus to explore this further.

6. Catalyst Pharma Group Inc., a pharmaceutical research company based in Pasadena, CA wants all its Data management work done by ASSET students in India. Negotiations are underway.

7.ASSET has completed discussions for opening a center in Mumbai in partnership with Pratham, one of the most reputable NGOs in India.

8. ASSET has been invited to Cornell to meet with Professor Stu Hart and his staff at the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, Johnson Graduate school of Management. Cornell is interested in using their Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) business model for ASSET for social businesses that Nav is willing to fund. The Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad is involved as well.

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

ASSET India Foundation is a finalist for the Stockholm Challenge award

---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Ulla Skidén <ulla.skiden@stockholmchallenge.se> Date: Fri, Mar 21, 2008 at 4:04 AM Subject: You are a finalist in the Stockholm Challenge Award 2008 To: rayu42@gmail.com Cc: maral@stockholmchallenge.se

Dear Mr Umashankar,

We are very pleased to inform you that the jury has selected your entry of Achieving Sustainable Social Equality Through Information & Computer Technology, in the Stockholm Challenge Award 2008 to be a finalist with a chance to win the Stockholm Challenge Trophy.

The winner in the Education category will be announced at the Gala Dinner and Award ceremony in the Stockholm City Blue Hall (venue of the Nobel Prize banquet) on May 22. The winner will receive the Stockholm Challenge trophy and certificate of achievement and a cheque at that event. <snip> Once again, congratulations on your success in becoming a finalist in the Stockholm Challenge Award 2008, we look forward to greeting you in May, during Challenge Week! Kind regards Ulla Skidén Director and Earl Mardle Chairman of the Jury www.stockholmchallenge.se

The Stockholm Challenge is an ICT for development programme at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). It culminates in the Challenge Week Event, May 19-22, 2008. KTH offers a broad range of masters programmes taught in English. More information http://www.stockholmchallenge.se/kth *************************** ASSET India Foundation has been nominated for the Tech Museum award in the Equality category. http://www.techawards.org

Jan 22 2008

Life Skills intsructors hired for ASSET/Chennai

Ray Umashankar

Greetings!

I am pleased to inform our donors that after a meeting with the parents and obtaining their consent, 26 students students from the first batch at ASSET-Chennai will be joining NewGen Imaging in Chennai as interns.

The ASSET students joining NewGen are 18 years are older and legally eligible to work. Parental consent was obtained only to seek their support for the project and to recruit future students.

Formal discussions are under way with the HR manager at NewGen to complete all the necessary formalities.

Two additional instructors are being hired to teach the General Electric Foundation's Life Skills modules to the ASSET/NewGen interns. Special emphasis will be placed on money management, saving for the future, opening savings account, financial responsibility, and philanthropy.

In addition the STRIVE program developed by ICICI will also be taught to develop entrepreneurial and interpersonal skills.

University of Arizona Honors College students are using the ASSET project for their senior thesis and are also exploring ways to implement the ASSET model in Central and South America.

ASSET India Foundation has been invited to partner with Parade Magazine/Case Foundation for their fundraising challenge.

The Contest is managed by Global Giving and ends at 3 pm EST on January 31, 2008 Global Giving link for donating: (minimum $10) -- see link below to donate!

(only one donation per credit card will be counted towards the contest) Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

Sincerely,

Ray Umashankar

Dec 13 2007

Exciting developments/Progress report Nov 2007

Ray Umashankar

1. High tech company in Chennai has agreed to employ ASSET- Chennai students as Interns/employees . The initial salary that includes training will be around Rs.3,000 and at the end of year 1 they can earn up to Rs.5,000 and at the end of year 3 the potential is to earn up to Rs.15,000 a month.

This was made possible by Raghu Rajagopal CEO of www.energeate.com who is on the ASSET advisory team in Chennai. Similar CEO teams are being set up at all the ASSET sites.

2. Received additional funding of $40,000 from Sooch Foundation towards hardware purchase, salaries for English and IT instructors.

3. Received $5,000 matching grant for ASSET Hyderabad Center from Saxena Foundation

4.Received a grant for 20 new Dell PCs from Dell Foundation, Austin-Texas for the ASSET Chennai center to replace the 20 used PCs donated by TCS.

4. Received donation of NComputing X-300 for all ASSET centers. NComputing won the WallSreet Computing Technology award in October 2007.(www.Ncomputing.com )

5. Received used PCs from IBM-India for various NGOs in rural areas.

6. Received donation of Aptech curriculum ( www.aptech-education.com), textbooks for all ASSET centers

7. Job offer for 35 students from Delhi ASSET center

8. Deloitte consulting joins ASSET advisory board in Hyderabad

9. ASSET centers started operations in Hyderabad and Bangalore.

10- Innocentive Challenge has approved the Solar-powered wireless routers development project for ASSET and it has just been posted on the Innocentive website with the award amount of $20,000. Solar powered wireless router will make it feasible for outsourcing work using wireless mesh networks from metro areas in India to rural areas which are trafficking hubs.

Oct 01 2007

September report/CEOs metoring ASSET students

Ray Umashankar

Greetings!

The ASSET Kolkata center in partnership with Apne Aap(http://www.apneaap.org/activity.html) is fully operational. Students from Aapne Aap's facilities in Topsia and Khidderpore (red light district) are enrolled in the classes.

Students from Aapne Aap- Subhash camp, Delhi will be attending classes in the two ASSET centers in Delhi.

ASSET has formed a working group of CEOs/Executives interested in Corporate Social Responsibility for each of the ASSET centers. Our ultimate goal is employability of our students and the following from the CEO team in Chennai is a good road map to follow for all the other centers.

Our centers in Hyderabad in partnership with Prajwala (www.prajwalaindia.org) and Ahmedabad in partnership with SAATH (www.saath.org) will be starting very shortly. Ray Umashankar

---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Raghu Rajagopal < Date: Sep 17, 2007 10:01 AM Subject: RE: ASSET Meeting on Sept 12 To: Ray Umashankar , kunal Cc: "A.J. Hariharan" < fieldmaster2000@hotmail.com>, Nitin , ANILKUMAR S G /RFGRM/IBANK/CHE , Srinivasan Viswanathan

All,

Here is a model to think about which I am very positive in addition to the one given below that we discussed.

______

ASSET works with ICWO to train the students.

Training completely catered to a certain field – eg: retail, data entry (as discussed below in kunal's notes)

Some of us will promote a company that has a social angle (eg: rural bpo)

Get the funding from sources like IFMR Trust or elsewhere ( I have access to some)

This company will take the employees from ICWO trained students

This is a complete cycle that I was talking about.

Regards,

Raghu Rajagopal

CEO, Energeate

www.energeate.com

---------------------------------------------

Hi All,

I have summarized below the points we discussed in the meeting. Please add any points I may have missed.

The meeting began with a discussion on Vishy's September 10, 2007 email.

As Vishy very articulately put, the bottom line is that we want to increase the 'employability' of these students. Given that, Nitin pointed out that STRiVE model could be an ideal way forward.

Nitin discussed in detail the set-up of STRiVE and the IFRM Trust ( www.thenetworkenterprisesfund.in) along with its model. The idea is bascially to provide employment opportunities to youth from the underserved segments of society, bringing them into mainstream economy by enhancing their inherent capacities and integrating their skill sets to the needs of the market in a viable and sustainable manner.

Under this, STRiVE has a demand led approach in which the corporates share with them their training material, this is taken to a training partner that has the ability to source students and has infrastructure. Since the students will be trained as per the same yard sticks that a corporate would, it can be expected from the corporate to give a placement guarantee.

This guarantee in turn helps the student to access loans to pay for the training. This is the STRiVe Model per se, how exactly it can be implemented with the ASSET students is something yet to be discussed.

STRiVE on its side can being in the corporate contacts, facilitate the access to finance, and content. ICWO has the infrastructure and the ability to get trainees.

Nitin also mentioned that STRiVE already has collaboration with the Retailers Association of India which has given their training material and access to employer database. And STRiVE has an ongoing training program in retailing in Hyderabad. Given that, we can think of bringing the vertical of retailing for the ASSET students (to begin with).

Additionally, organisations such as ICICI One Source (now First Source) need a number of data entry operators. We can think of training ASSET students in typing skills and linking them up with BPOs.

Retailing and ICICI One Source (the BPO industry in general), could be the two verticals that we can look forward to. We can divide the current group of students into two batches and train them accordingly.

Of course, meanwhile we can still think of other options or better employers. But again we must not forget that we should be primarily aiming for employers from the local industries. Also, it was agreed that instead of including programming languages like C in the curriculum, we need to focus on training to increase general computer 'awareness', typing skills, people skills and communication skills (most of which was covered in Vishy's email) which will be much more useful for their immediate job requirements. Regards

Kunal ******************** Dear Mr Umashankar, It is heartening know about the work being done by ASSET for the vulnerable children. I am asking my team to engage with ASSET and provide possible help. STM Eswar, who is head of HCL Education will work on this. Rajendra Kumar

Executive Vice President

HCL Infosystems Ltd.

E-4,5,6, Sector – XI, Noida – 201 301

www.hclinfosystems.in

www.hcl.in ********************* Thank you for your mail and congrats on the good work done. the centres look like a wonderful idea. we are headquartered in gurgaon and should be able to help in some way in a centre in the proximity. would also like you to give some further detail in the kind of cooperation required. we are fairly active in CSR and tend to close in on our charities at the beginning of the fiscal. Thanks

Deep Kalra Chairman and Managing Director MakeMyTrip.com Gurgaon, India

Aug 30 2007

CEOs visit ASSET center in Chennai

Ray Umashankar

CEOs of hitech companies and the program manager for the STRIVE program visited the students and staff at the ASSET/ICWO center in Chennai on Wednesday August 29th.

Their observations and recommendations are attached along with the IFMR Trust's STRIVE program.

Aug 14 2007

Observations from a project visit

Meredith Landis

In the greater Chennai region, many women resort to sex-work in order to survive. As a result, there are nearly 10,000 children of sex-workers that are ostracized from their communities, keeping them from acquiring the skills needed for gainful employment.

Ray Umashankar and Abishek Kumar founded a program to help train these children so they will be able to find employment. ASSET teaches these children valuable skills such as computer programming, accounting, and other skills useful in the IT and Business Process Outsourcing that are booming in Chennai. Currently, the children are learning essential Microsoft Office tools.

Once students complete the course, ASSET works with local placement agencies (i.e. Ma Foi) to find them jobs. Most of the IT and BPOs offer jobs for 4-5 hours per week where employees can earn an average of 5,000 rupees.

In order for the ASSET Center to be successful, the project leaders work closely with IT companies and BPOs to develop a curriculum that teaches the specific skills the companies look for in potential employees. Also, since all public instruction is taught in English, the ASSET Center is in the process of finding a volunteer organization to help find English tutors to help the students.

Currently, classes are 15 hours per week. Students take three classes, which run 4-6 hours each. To encourage students to attend, each student receives travel vouchers to pay for their transportation fees. Upon finishing the course, students receive a certificate of completion.

As a result of the success of the ASSET Center in Chennai, there are several plans for a major expansion of the project.

Project Goals: - Have one instructor in each center that will run three classes for three batches of students. - 3 centers established by March (two in Chennai, one in Gorapur) - Centers established in five cities by the end of 2007 - 10-15 Placement organizations for employment for each center - 5 NGO partners in each city to help with outreach and support - Make the entire program community-run - Hire country manager by 2008

Jul 02 2007

Aptech training/Microsoft software-June Report

Ray Umashankar

JUNE 2007 REPORT 1. English classes are in progress at the ASSET centers in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Gorakhpur 2. Proposals have been submitted to Dell Foundation for DELL hardware donations for cities where Dell has a presence. 3. Microsoft India will donate software and the Unlimited Potential program to all ASSET's NGO partners. 4. APTECH (www.aptech-education) the computer training company with the largest market share in India and China is providing training in the ASSET centers in Chennai and Kolkata (see attached) 5.APTECH will also help with placements of our gradutes in internships/jobs. 6. I have been introduced to Rufina Fernandes, CEO of NASSCOM Foundation NASSCOM is India's National Association of Software and Service Companies, the premier trade body and the chamber of commerce of the IT software and services industry in India. NASSCOM is a global trade body with over 1100 members, of which over 250 are global companies from the US, UK, EU, Japan and China. NASSCOM's member companies are in the business of software development, software services, software products, IT-enabled/BPO services and e-commerce.

Jun 14 2007

Progress report

Ray Umashankar

Present enrollments are:

Chennai- 60 students Kolkata: 22 Gorakhpur-20 Delhi-60 Hyderabad-20 Bangalore and Pune are yet to start.

Mr. S.S.Krishnan, currently the Executive Chairman of Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited ( CIBIL-www.cibil.com) will join ASSET as its India Country manager in November 2007. Mr. Krishnan has over 36 years of banking experience with State Bank of India (SBI) where he retired as Deputy Managing Director and Corporate Development Officer. .

Firstsource (www.firstsource.com) has expressed interest in developing a plan for hiring ASSET graduates. Firstsource is among India's leading BPO companies providing business process management services to global leaders in Banking & Financial Services, Telecom & Media and Healthcare. We are working on the "ASSET Wireless Mesh Network" (AWMN) project. AWMN will allow data processing projects to be sent over wireless networks from Metro cities in India to interior and border towns where there is a large population of trafficking victims and children of women in prostitution. AWMN has immense possibilities, especially in reducing the migration form rural to urban areas which is the leading cause for the formation of slums. We are working on strategy for a pilot project with Rajendra Joshi, Managing trustee of Saath (www.saath.org) a very reputable Ahmedabad based NGO and Gagan Sethi, CEO of Janvikas in Vadodhra. The wireless network infrastructure plan (AWMN) is on the basis that if projects from the U.S can be outsourced to India, we can certainly do the same within India. The proposal is based on how technology can be used to outsource data entry projects from a major hub/metro city in India to the outlying remote interior and border towns.

This plan will engage the best technical minds in India and the U.S and also allow students to live and work in their own towns and earn a livelihood using modern communications technology.

May 02 2007

Chairman of Convio joins ASSET Advisory Board

Ray Umashankar

I am very pleased to announce that Vinay Bhagat, Founder, Chairman and Chief Strategy officer of Convio has agreed to serve on ASSET's Advisory board.

http://www.convio.com/site/PageServer Vinay Bhagat, Founder, Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer Vinay founded Convio in April 1999 after volunteering at a public television pledge drive and being struck by the opportunity to leverage Internet technology to drive better fundraising results. Today, as chief strategy officer, Vinay oversees business and corporate development, strategy and consulting services and works with many of Convio's largest current and prospective clients.

A frequent speaker at conferences, Vinay has addressed events hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Independent Sector, Integrated Media Association, Politics Online, Public Broadcasting System and National Voluntary Healthcare Association. Vinay also is a widely published author, with chapters in The Nonprofit Handbook: Fund Raising Third Edition 2002 Supplement and Nonprofit Internet Strategies: Best Practices for Marketing, Communications, and Fundraising Success; his articles appear regularly in DM News, Journal of the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation and on OnPhilanthropy.com. Vinay serves on the board of the ePhilanthropy Foundation and the Education Committee of the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation.

Prior to Convio, Vinay was director of ecommerce at Austin-based Trilogy Software, working with Fortune 500 companies to develop their Internet strategies. Before Trilogy, he was a consultant at Bain & Company in London, Hong Kong and Kiev. Vinay holds degrees from Harvard Business School (MBA), Stanford University (MS) and Cambridge University (MA) in England. He has worked as a volunteer for public television stations, an AIDS hospice and Convio clients.

Mar 29 2007

Opening of the ASSET Center

Ray Umashankar

I am pleased to inform you that David Feldmann, Vice Consul, U.S. Consulate General participated in the program and officially opened the ASSET center on Thursday, March 22 at 6 P.M.

The real celebration will be when we place these students in internships and jobs. That is the only metric that matters. Please see Press cutting and photos attached, and additional photos are in the photo gallery. Warm regards Ray Umashankar Executive Director ASSET India Foundation

Mar 21 2007

Why ASSET will succeed

Ray Umashankar

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

Mar 15 2007

Partnering with SMILE Foundation, Delhi

Ray Umashankar

The programme is encouraged & supported by

Academic Partner

Ray Umashankar [right], Executive Director, Asset India Foundation, USA who is also a Dean at University of Arizona, handing over partnership papers to Mr. K. K. Varma [Chief - Projects & Partnerships, SMILE] and Mr. Santanu Mishra [Trustee - SMILE] during a meeting at Smile Foundation office in New Delhi. ASSET and SMILE have partnered under Smile Twin e-Learning Programme.

Feb 15 2007

ASSET Management

India Abroad

Please click below to read an article about ASSET which appeared in the Feb. 9th issue of India Abroad!

Nov 22 2006

ASSET Center- Report for November

Ray Umashankar

There are currently 17 students (14 girls, 3 boys). It will be 20 students very shortly. We will be offering English language lessons starting in 2 weeks.

We will be starting a mother/daughter computer learning class shortly.

The Children are very motivated and they want to do well. They help keep the learning environment clean. I They are excited, attend regularly on their own and are excellent learners.