TrueDiamond: Ray & Nita Umashankar


Delivering hope and salvation to India’s forgotten daughters Slavery.

A word that delivers cringe worthy visuals of bonded labour, sexual exploitation and even prostitution to most individuals. For lakhs of Indian women from India however, this terms defines their existence. Daughters are looked upon as unnecessary burdens (yes even today!)

Very often girls from economically disadvantaged backgrounds will find themselves either as indentured labourers, sex slaves and prostitutes. Sold into servitude by relatives, families and unscrupulous elements, this abhorrent practice is a blot on our global human rights image, and precious little is being done for the upliftment of these, our ‘forgotten daughters’. 

Image: Asset India Foundation/Facebook (image link: http://www.takepart.com/sites/default/files/styles/large_responsive_desktop/public/AssetIndiaFoundation.jpg?itok=kznjEGxV)

That is the picture you have until you meet Ray and Nita Umashankar. A father-daughter duo, who over the past several years have been working tirelessly in order to bring a ray of sunshine into the lives of India’s marginalised sex slaves. Ray Umashankar is a retired NRI residing in the United States, who believes in the amelioration of India’s oppressed lot, through education. His bright and gifted daughter Nita, brought to him the idea of setting up a foundation to train and upskill the daughters of women rescued from sex slavery, in order for them to acquire higher paying jobs in the IT sector.

Thus was born Achieving Sustainable Social Equality through Technology (ASSET) India Foundation, an organisation that to date has trained over 1,500 women & children who’ve been rescued from slavery of different kinds. From indentured labourers, to children of sex workers, from women who were once employed in sweatshops, to women who have at some point in time been kidnapped from their homes and sold into slavery of one kind or another… all these souls are welcome and trained here.

On his work with his daughter, Ray Umashankar has this to say: “Nita gave me a purpose for my life.” When most of us pass off news of slavery with a commiseratory nods, the father-daughter duo have been instrumental in changing the lives of these women. Truly an effort worth saluting. Our heads bow in humility and admiration to this inspirational duo.

#TrueDiamonds indeed. Wouldn’t you say?


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