In Sri Lanka, girls who have survived abuse or are at risk of domestic or sexual violence are placed into shelters for their protection. These shelters, while providing a safe place to live, typically lack resources and educational opportunities and these young women lose access to the outside world and traditional support systems. When they turn 18, they must leave the shelters and either return to their abusive families or go out on their own without marketable skills to provide for themselves.
Girls who have been institutionalized due to abuse face three enormous challenges:
- overcoming past trauma and believing in their own capacity to take control of their lives and effect change;
- societal stigma (it can be hard to find work, housing, educational opportunities, or even allies), and
- integrating into society after years of living in an institution, where they lacked access to formal education or the outside world and consequently are left vulnerable to unsafe relationships and work, such as prostitution or trafficking.
Despite the challenges that this group of persevering young women face, working with this target population presents tremendous opportunity. The amount of courage it takes for these girls to testify in court against abusers, often whom are their own fathers, is remarkable. At Emerge, we believe these are the girls who will make Sri Lanka safer and better for future girls.
Emerge exists to equip these inspiring girls with tools and resources for their futures, enabling them to live healthy, self-sufficient lives and to end abuse in their own sphere of influence.
Read more about our model here.