By Judy Florio
What a year it has been for the Emerge Centre for Reintegration. Following its launch in August 2016, the Emerge Centre has successfully worked with over 20 young women in its first 3 batches, held its second graduation on October 3th, has served as leading partner in the 18+ advocacy campaign focusing on the rights of young people leaving care, and has strengthened our existing programs, which are further supplementing the Emerge Centre with enriching exposure to opportunity and experiential learning.
The Centre has kept its founding promise to provide safe housing and a comprehensive curriculum centered on empowerment to foster independence for young women as they move from living in residential centers to independent young adult life. Our first two groups of participants, totaling 15 young women, are off in the world, working as full time employees, interns, or enrolled in training programs. We are proud to report a 100% job or educational placement rate following each participant’s graduation, fulfilling our dreams of providing opportunity for success to the girls that we work with.
Graduation continues to be a celebration filled with bitter sweet emotions of “see you soon” and new beginnings. This October, in a beautifully decorated hall in Kollupitiya, dozens of Emerge supporters gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of the 9 graduating young women. Here, participants showcased what they learned through dances, self defense demonstration, song, and public speaking.
“The past three months living at the Emerge Centre have been a very good time for me in my life. I have always wanted to learn a language, and at the Centre I have been able to start learning English. I now can understand and speak English better than I could before.”
-An Emerge program alum, proudly in English at October graduation
Currently, we are working with 6 young women, who are mid-way through their Emerge Centre journey. Thanks to their resilience, fierce determination, and the support and resources offered by the Centre, we are proud to reflect on the successes of our vibrant participants, and continue to connect with each to hear of the successes and hardships that life brings.
Our English, IT, life skills, counseling, and professional development programs continue to run strong, along with supplementary programs such as self-defense, art, and dance classes, as well as reproductive health workshops. The Emerge Centre has taken a deep dive into experiential learning, in pursuit of providing continuous exposure and opportunity to learning through action. Visits by professional women in different fields of work, as well as training, bus, train, museum, market, movie, and park trips, fill participants’ schedules while having a break from class. Our young women are filled with pride at their ability to independently do things they once deemed impossible, and suggest that these trips have been some of their favorite Emerge experiences.
The successes, challenges, discovery, hard work, joy, and triumphs of the young women that Emerge has had the privilege to serve at the Centre further motivate us to continue to work tirelessly to make the Emerge Centre a place of empowerment, healing, growth, and hope. We are just getting started. Stay tuned for more to come!