Our new Emerge Center provides a residential empowerment program for young women as they transition from Emerge programs in shelters into their independent, adult lives. Emerge also supports this transition by connecting young women to a variety of local resources and service providers, providing general support and check-ins, and hosting annual alumnae reunions.
“I think what Emerge does is magical and inspirational. It gives these young girls a second chance, not only to dream, but, to make their dreams a reality through concrete means of empowerment, self-sufficiency, education and support.”
“Emerge matters because it is empowering, not only to the girls but to the mentors who volunteer because it makes us see life in a different way, and trains us to take a fresh approach to the concept of victimhood, by celebrating and nurturing the strength of the girls as survivors. It provides a forum for exchange of values, ideas, knowledge and friendship. In both its Beads-to-Business Project as well as its Mentorship Program, the focus of Emerge is on creativity and critical thinking, on building bridges and fitting pieces together. Emerge is special because it demonstrates both practically and symbolically that what is broken can be repaired, that parts of a whole that have fallen asunder can be put back together, and that what can emerge out of such an enterprise is something that is not only complete again but perhaps more beautiful than what was before.”
“In 2010, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) provided resources for Emerge to incorporate reproductive health training into their training programs for young women. As the IYF program manager, I had the opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka and see Emerge’s trainers in action – and what I saw left a lasting impression on me. The girls so clearly valued the life skills, income generation, and reproductive health lessons that were being taught to them, and became very engaged in the interactive lessons being taught by Emerge staff. The trainers at Emerge quickly and expertly adopted an experiential training pedagogy that engaged the girls in brainstorming activities, role plays, and group discussions; ultimately enabling them understand and embrace the concepts being taught. I was so impressed by Emerge’s work that I have continued to remain a supporter and advocate after moving on from my position at IYF.
I would encourage all homes in Sri Lanka to consider implementing Emerge’s training programs – they will most certainly impart valuable knowledge, mentorship and skills to the young women living in those homes; ultimately equipping them for success in their adult lives.”
To date, Emerge has worked with over 450 girls from across Sri Lanka. Every Rs. 100 invested into a girl’s materials helps her generate more than Rs. 380 in savings. Some girls have made more than Rs. 190,000 (~$1500) within a year of participating in Emerge’s program. Girls have used this money to finance businesses, finance additional education, take care of children, pay for medical support, and even build homes (check out one of our alumna’s homes that she built with her savings to the left!).
Much of our impact is harder to measure but is just as important: Girls who entered our program too broken to speak are now comfortable sharing their ideas; Participants have expressed increased confidence and self-worth; Through their Community Fund, participants have collectively identified communal challenges and worked together to change them; and, participants have shared their knowledge with community members after leaving Emerge programs.
“An unexpected event changed my life one day. My fate was changed in a way that I never thought it would. It left me at my lowest, heart broken and lonely. At that time, when I was without any help, feeling sad, it was the beading workshop that helped ease my pain and loneliness and helped me make up my mind and console myself. The satisfaction I feel in combining beautiful colors, designing and completing a beautiful necklace or bracelet is hard to describe in words. These workshops have helped me succeed in life and face life as a successful human being to this day. I thank the people who helped me and guided me through this difficult time. Now as my career, I have dedicated myself to teach girls that have faced the same challenges as me. I do it with immense happiness.”
“My life had taken a very unexpected turn and I was very sad about it. I felt trapped between four walls, cramped in a building, alone among people I didn’t know. I couldn’t imagine how long I would have to stay like that, sad and hurt. It was during these days of helplessness that the Emerge team came into my life. My life changed with their arrival. They taught us how to string beads to make a necklace. This was a simple thing but it made a vast difference in our lives, because we could generate savings by making these necklaces. They opened bank accounts for us and deposited our savings in them, which we could access once we become 18 years old. This is a tremendous service to us.”