By Judy Florio, Emerge Centre and Reintegration Programme Officer
Emerge Lanka is happy to share our continued alliance in advocacy with Sri Lanka’s 18+ campaign, which supports the development and systemization of services for youth aging out of institutional care. Emerge has worked closely with SOS Children’s Villages, as one of the nine organizations contributing to the cause through collaboration and joint advocacy work.
During the campaign’s launch event in July 2017, Emerge was able to showcase Emerge Centre initiatives, and empower participants to contribute in advocacy efforts through sharing their stories, experience with aging out of institutional care, and the support that they need to have a successful transition into safe adulthood.
What’s happened since:
Since the launch, there has been an increased level of attention given to an array of adversities that care-leavers face by policy makers. These strides are most evident through the first meeting in Sri Lankan history of provincial probation commissioners and senior probation officers to discuss the issue of aging out of the system, resulting in ongoing discussion about recommendations and systems which should be put in place.
Generation Never Give Up, a nation-wide peer network, comprised entirely of youth who have aged out of shelter care, has been created and is gaining momentum. The network serves as a space for care-leavers to collaborate about challenges and successes, get involved in advocacy and policy change, and access a range of resources. Emerge is proud to announce that a graduate of the Emerge Centre became so involved in the GNG initiatives, that she holds the title of “Secretary of the Committee for Peer Support and Advocacy” on the network’s leadership board.
The leading future goal of the 18+ campaign is to develop a resource center, which is envisioned to function as a safe space led by care-leavers and serve as a resource hub for applicable services across Sri Lanka. Through the year, Emerge will continue to collaborate, lobby, support in planning, and encouraging alumni to seek opportunities for empowerment, leadership, and support through Generation Never Give Up.