Emerge Lanka: Leadership

Emerge Lanka Foundation Staff:

Mumtaz Faleel – National Coordinator
Mumtaz has over 15 years of extensive experience working both in the private sector and the development field. Prior to entering the development and humanitarian sector in 2006, Mumtaz worked in legal firms, event management and property development. Mumtaz received her professional qualifications at the Institute of Human Rights with an in-depth study into Child Rights, an area she is deeply passionate about and is committed to making sustainable positive changes. Prior to joining Emerge, Mumtaz served as Senior Manager in the Programme Support Unit at the Foundation for Co-Existence, and as the Grants and Sponsorship Support Manager at Plan Sri Lanka. At Plan Sri Lanka, Mumtaz managed the country Sponsorship caseload of 26,000 children, introduced several key Child Protection mechanisms into its operations, and developed its first resource mobilization strategy with a special focus on grant funding. She oversaw a department of 25 staff members, stationed in three districts, and also managed the department budget. After Plan, Mumtaz served as a Project Facilitator for a pilot project on City Cluster Economic Development, funded by the Asian Development Bank, from which she gained valuable insights to processes working with Asian Development Bank as a donor, as well as the Government of Sri Lanka and the Private Sector.Mumtaz is currently a Founding Director of Lanka Dancesport Council, affiliated to the World Dance Council.
Nirukshi de Lanerolle – Program Coordinator
Nirukshi de Lanerolle is a mother figure to countless young girls through her work with orphanages and children’s programmes across the country. In the past, she has worked with World Vision Lanka as the Coordinator of Sponsor Relations and with Sarvodaya Suwasetha Sewa Society Ltd. where she was the Web and Donor Relations Manager. Her organizational skills, initiative and fluency in both Sinhala and English are an asset to Emerge. She was Emerge Lanka Foundation’s first employee, and has been the Programme Coordinator for more than six years.
Iroshini Kalpage – Program Development Officer
Iroshini Kalpage grew up in Nuwara Eliya. She has been involved with many activities and workshops regarding women and child’s rights, rights of children in residential care, gender based violence, ethnicity, religion, gender, caste, good governance, conflict resolution and capacity building. She has produced several peace documentaries with a focus on women and children rights. In addition, she has published various peace articles for newspapers. Iroshini will be finishing her Social Science degree in upcoming years.
Uadaya Sivakumar – Financial and Administrative Officer
Uadaya Sivakumar is proud of her upbringing by her single mother. She has a passion for women’s issues. Before joining Emerge Lanka, she worked with Women Defining Peace as their Finance Officer, where she supported projects to eliminate violence against women and encourage women’s political representation. Through her work, she has attended many trainings on women’s rights, gender-based violence, Muslim women’s Issues, and engaging men to prevent violence against women and in promoting equality. These workshops fueled her commitment to the issues which affect women and children of Sri Lanka. She is currently doing final year of Management Studies at University of Nawala.
We also work with two inspiring program alumnae, who we have kept anonymous for their protection

Emerge Interns:

2013 Summer Interns in Sri Lanka

  • Becky Rooney

2012 Summer Interns in Sri Lanka

Emerge Lanka Foundation Board of Directors:

Ellen Sojka – Co-Founder of Emerge Lanka Foundation
Ellen Sojka has been involved with Emerge since her senior year at MIT when she was inspired both by the cause and the people promoting it. After graduation, she moved to Sri Lanka as Emerge Global’s first Sri Lanka Country Director, where she set-up Emerge Lanka Foundation, Emerge Global’s sister entity. In the fall of 2009, she moved back to Boston as U.S. Director. She now serves as the Chair of the Board of Emerge Lanka Foundation, helping to provide strategic advice while continuing to pursue her passion for global social impact. In addition to her work with Emerge, Ellen has spent time working as a Management Consultant with Stroud Consulting, on the trading floor at Banc of America Securities, as an engineer at Intel, and as a Server and Maitre d’ at No. 9 Park, a fine dining restaurant in Boston. She graduated from MIT with a BS in Chemical Engineering and minors in Management and Chemistry in 2008, and is an avid volleyball player.
Alia Whitney-Johnson – Founder of Emerge Global; Co-Founder of Emerge Lanka Foundation
Alia Whitney-Johnson holds a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT and an MPhil in Development Studies at Oxford University, where she studied ethical apparel and innovative human resource management practices to promote empowerment as a Rhodes Scholar. Her passion for international development has led her to conduct tsunami relief work in Sri Lanka, refine a process to convert agricultural waste into charcoal for use in Haiti, and develop appropriate technologies in Guatemala. Through her work, she has also been a consultant to the World Bank. Her greatest passion, however, lies in her work with young women in Sri Lanka who have survived abuse. After traveling to Sri Lanka in the summer of 2005, she founded Emerge Global to enable Sri Lankan teenage girls who had survived abuse to develop business and life skills through jewelry design. In 2007, she was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women and was also selected as a Truman Scholar for her commitment to public service. In 2009, she was selected as one of 20 young social entrepreneurs under the age of 30 to be a YouthActionNet® Global Fellow. She is a member of the MIT Corporation, MIT’s Board of Trustees, and was named a Sauvé Scholar in 2011 to support her work with Emerge.

Emerge Lanka Foundation Advisory Board

  • Zainab Anverally
  • Kishor Hameed
  • Farzana Khan
  • Prakash Mirchandani
  • Ranil Samarawickrema

The Emerge Team in Action